The Tech Campus food pantry is looking to make accommodations compliant with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention health guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic. The first week of September operations began like any other fall for the pantry but the entire scope of how things are to be run have changed.
“It is very important for us to have the CDC guidelines in place when it comes to handling food, and keeping everyone safe in these times,” Hannah Phillips, food pantry student manager and Senior nursing major, said.
Guidelines have been set in order to regulate the food pantries activities in such a manner that everyone gets the goods and nutrients they need while staying coronavirus free.
First, food pantry clients are expected to wear masks and gloves if they intend to shop for their own groceries inside of the food pantry, as they have been allowed to do in the past.
Second, food pantry clients must bag their own items instead of having the assistance from pantry volunteers on site, thus cutting back on the immediate interaction and contact in hopes of lessening the spread of the coronavirus.
Third, there is also now a contactless pick up system. Where clients or friends of clients can pull up to the pantry, call the phone number displayed out front of the pantry that is visible from their vehicles. Once they are wired through to a representative they will be able to place their grocery list order.
A volunteer worker gathers all of their goods, packages them and places the order outside on the contactless pick up order station located on the side of the building. Once the order is placed the contactless pickup client receives a call back being notified of their order being ready.
Lastly, within the pantry there are precautionary measures being taken by the staff and volunteers to assure maximum health and safety of all patrons and clients. Those procedures are as follows (but are not limited to): sanitizing door knobs three times a day, sanitizing shopping baskets between each client, sanitizing the refrigerators and deep freezer handles between each client, and staff are frequently cleansing their hands while on their volunteer shifts.
“I am very appreciative to have Hannah’s expertise when it comes to health and safety but also just in general during a time like this with the restructuring of pantry protocols and procedures,” Michelle Huddleston, food pantry coordinator, said.