IMPORTANT COVID-19 FOOD BANK UPDATE

 

During the outbreak, Feeding Illinois Food Bank members are continuing to provide core services while taking all precautions to protect their workers and minimize the spread of COVID-19. The requisite services of the food banks are acquiring, storing, and distributing food to roughly 2,400 member agencies in all 102 counties of Illinois. Essential back-office functions, such as agency relations, community outreach, financial management, and donation handling must also continue to operate at some level. All of which become more challenging as more staff work remotely and volunteers hesitate to continue any potential personal-contact activities at both the food banks and agencies.
The respective needs of the individual food banks are fluid and their responses are adapting to local situations. What follows is a brief synopsis of their most pressing situations and needs. The most critical needs are:
• Food - to supplant declining donations from usual sources and channels.
• Funds - to purchase additional foods and support expanded services.
• Volunteers - to help sort, pack, and distribute food at both food banks and agencies. 
• Boxes, Bags & To-Go Containers - to pre-pack food for alternative (i.e., social-distancing) distributions.
 
 
• All the food banks have expanded or incorporated some type of mobile, drive-through, or knock-and-drop distributions to facilitate social distancing, agency closings, and volunteer drop-offs.
• Demand for food and program assistance is expanding daily, with inquiries for food and where to find assistance escalating.
    o  SNAP Outreach teams report being inundated with referrals and inquiries; receiving more referrals in a day than they usually would in a month.
• The most-drastic negative impact has been volunteers staying home that has essentially forced some agencies to close or take that precaution to protect their mostly-senior workforce.
    o This is also impeding the food banks' ability to sort, process, and pack foods and boxes. 
 
If the situation continues, growing concerns are:
• Food supply, and the increasing likelihood, if not already the need, to tap into financial reserves to expand food purchasing.
• Some agencies are also becoming concerned about the food supply and have started reaching out to out-of-network organizations for possible assistance.
• Increased special deliveries, such as those mentioned above, require more resources, time and increased costs - straining food banks' budgets even further.
• Maintaining some critical services, such as SNAP Outreach assistance, with staff working remotely, and some residents not having access to internet or phone service, etc.
• Security (i.e., personal safety and crowd control), particularly if food banks need to start doing more mass distributions in impacted communities.
    o People have started coming up to delivery trucks asking for food directly from drivers and crowds have become somewhat aggressive in a few situations.
      
• Projecting long term, if the situation worsens to the point of not wanting agencies to visit food banks nor guests to visit food pantries, then food bank will have to devise a distribution network that does not widely exist today.
 
None of the Illinois are adequately, or readily staffed for expanded, long-term home deliveries.
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COVID-19 Information

 

 

While its generally been reported greater at-risk factors for COVID-19 among the general population are those people age 50+ and with pre-existing health conditions, the residents the Feeding Illinois food banks its network of local agencies serve may be equally, if not more, susceptible to this virus - due to lesser access to adequate health care and treatment, lower resistance or compromised immune systems, stigma or bias, or lack of information about proper prevention and care.

 

Feeding Illinois food banks and their agencies are trusted community resources; and our respective and collective efforts can be essential to your community’s health by:

·         Providing nourishment to vulnerable populations during this time of heightened anxiety,

·         Ensuring that we treat all people with respect and dignity, and

·         Conveying accurate information to help protect the neighbors we serve.

 

Please consider helping us meet this obligation with a generous gift to provide continued - and expanded - support and relief to those individuals and families impacted most by the ongoing health emergency.

 

To Help, Please Click on http://www.feedingamerica.org/covidIL

 

We pledge to direct your contribution to the food bank serving your area and where it can do the most good to help halt this expanding crisis in Illinois. We are committed to serving people in need, wherever they are. We, along with Feeding America and numerous other private and public entities, are constantly and carefully monitoring developments regarding the spread of COVID-19. Feeding America is also actively consulting with FEMA, National VOAD, the USDA and leveraging other partners who are in a position to support measures to ensure access to food for the most vulnerable members of our communities during this situation.

 

Additional COVID-19 Information & Resources

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

 

https://www.isbe.net/Documents/COVID-19-School-Closures-Letter-Guidance.pdf

 

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

 

http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus

 

https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19

 

 

 

For assistance or further information, please contact the Food Bank serving your county, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.