On Wednesday, March 25, The Townsman reported that the Cranbrook Food Bank would have to temporarily shut their doors due to a lack of supplies and volunteers, complications created by the current coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the community have banded together to help the Food Bank, and the Food Bank is now able to offer their regular services starting up again on Monday, March 30.
Gerry Oviatt, Manager at the Cranbrook Food Bank, explained that there is still a shortage of volunteers, and things are still changing, but they want to be able to help the community as best they can.
“We’ve put the feelers out there online and in the community, and the churches and Salvation Army have also come together to help us,” Oviatt explained. “Our regular volunteer base mostly consists of retired people, and we want them to be safe and not concerned right now.”
Lynda Miller of Connect Church in Cranbrook says that the church wants to help in any way they can, including collecting donations and recruiting volunteers.
On Wednesday, Connect Church took to Facebook to put out a call for help to the community.
“As you may have heard, the Cranbrook Food Bank has just closed. The need is greater than it has ever been for food,” said Pastor Frank Hackett in an online video. “We also need volunteers in order to be able to deliver the food to the elderly and immunocompromised who can’t go out and get it on their own. It really is just two things – if you can donate some food drop it off to the office…Two – maybe some of you have a little more time on your hands and you’re willing to isolate but you’re willing to pick up some food and deliver it to the outside of people’s doors. If you can donate the time, donate some food, man please, we need you. S.O.S. Thanks gang, you rock.”
Miller adds that donations of food can simply be left on doorsteps to be picked up by the church.
“If people want to donate, but don’t want to leave their home, they can contact us and leave the food out on their stoop and we’ll come and get it,” Miller said. “Other people have also dropped off donations outside our office, which is closed, but we will come collect it there as well. We are working with the Salvation Army to come up with a specific drop off location.”
She adds that the two organizations are recruiting volunteers and putting a list together of those who are available.
“Anyone who wants to volunteer is welcome, we just ask that they fill out a short form with a few questions first,” Miller explained.
The questions are a simple way to screen volunteers to ensure they aren’t putting others at risk due to COVID-19.
Below is the list of questions that volunteers would have to answer no to if they would like to distribute food:
1. Do you have a cough, fever or any type of respiratory illness?
2. Have you or anyone in your household traveled out of the country in the last 3 weeks?
3. Have you or anyone in your household been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19?
4. Are you or anyone in your household a healthcare worker caring for a confirmed COVID-19 patient?
Major Ginny Kristensen from the Cranbrook Salvation Army explained that those in need today (Friday, March 27) can contact them to arrange an emergency food hamper.
“While the Food Bank is closed, we are able to provide emergency food hampers to those in need,” Kristensen explained. “We ask that you call ahead to arrange a pick-up, or we can drop it off to those who are unable to leave their homes at this time. We are also offering meals as well, and can drop them off to anyone who is required to self-isolate.”
Miller of Connect Church says it’s great to see the support in the community.
“We’re coming together to fill those needs and support the community,” she said. “We’re all banding together to keep everyone fed and taken care of.”
Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or finding out more information can contact Connect Church at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give them a call at 250-919-7325.
The Salvation Army can be reached at 250-426-3612 and the Cranbrook Food Bank can be reached at 250-426-7664.