COVID-19: TOGETHER WE ARE MOVING FORWARD
We want to provide an update to everyone in our Sahuarita Food Bank & Community Resource Center (SFB-CRC) community regarding the impact of Covid-19 on our organization. During the course of the first year of the pandemic, we lost two volunteers to this disease. And we had to ask regular volunteers to no longer come to the SFB.
As a result of these losses and to protect all volunteers and clients/participants, we will be asking all volunteers to complete a full course of the vaccine. No volunteer may start working unless two weeks has elapsed following the course of treatment (four weeks for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
We ask that all volunteers stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness—fever, headache, stuffiness, gastric symptoms. If you come to volunteer with any symptoms, we will ask that you get tested before returning to the SFB.
SFB-CRC has dealt in the recent past with emergency food needs as a result of a government shutdown, teacher strike, and the strike at ASARCO, but no other situation has affected our capability to safely and effectively deliver much-needed food to the hungry as much as this.
Just as local communities were instituting procedures to protect seniors and limit social contact, SFB-CRC took immediate action as well. Now a veteran of 15 months as our executive director, Carlos Valles joined with key volunteers to completely change the way food is distributed, testing their innovations with food bank visitors and volunteers to implement a new drive-through process within 48 hours. Clients are greeted and registered in their cars by SFB-CRC volunteers under tent canopies, and then directed to the distribution point. Volunteers radio information on each family to the fulfillment team so they can deliver the accurate amount of fresh produce, meat, milk, eggs, and non-perishables to the clients, either through a car window or the rear of the vehicle.
This new process maintains social distance, protecting older volunteers and clients with chronic illnesses, and although it does affect client choice, it still retains personal interaction valued so much by both, as well as requiring fewer volunteers. We believe it is the best solution available under the circumstances.
To ensure that lower-income students don’t go hungry over the weekends while schools are closed, SFB-CRC will continue to provide weekend nutrition BackPacks to Sahuarita and Continental School students. SUSD is providing breakfast and lunch “to go” for students participating in the Federal Free and Reduced-Price meal program and SFB-CRC will deliver the weekend nutrition to the Wrightson Ridge distribution site. Continental School is using their busses to deliver food each weekday and the food bank will coordinate BackPacks with their bus deliveries.
SFB-CRC’s mission has always been to feed the hungry, and we are committed to continuing this essential service to our community during this crisis. We believe we will see an increasing number of households needing food, yet we are already experiencing a reduction in food donations and allocations from current sources.
Please consider a generous donation to help us continue our operations. You can send a check to Sahuarita Food Bank at 17750 S. La Canada Drive, Sahuarita, AZ 85629, or make a donation online. We also accept donations of non-perishables at the above address.
On behalf of the SFB-CRC Board, I wish to personally thank all our Apple Basket readers for your support. Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of the most in need in our community.
Warm wishes and stay safe and well,
Penny Pestle, Board President