The Arkansas Foodbank’s priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is to continue to provide much needed food assistance for our 33-county coverage area, which is seeing a significant increase in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In coordination with Feeding America, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Center for Disease Control, the Arkansas Foodbank has been actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, partners and clients as we continue to serve our community during this critical time. These have included limiting access to the building, reducing the number of staff and volunteers in the building, screening all persons entering the building, increased cleaning regimen and practicing safe distancing.
On Friday, April 3, the Arkansas Foodbank became aware that a volunteer that had been in the Foodbank’s volunteer operations center earlier in the week, became ill and was tested for COVID-19. It was confirmed Saturday, April 4 that the volunteer tested positive for COVID- 19. The Foodbank immediately contacted the Arkansas Department of Health and is taking all of the correct measures to ensure the safety of everyone at the Foodbank. Following CDC guidelines, the Foodbank had a professional team of cleaners come into the building on Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 to deep clean the areas where the volunteer had worked as well as additional areas throughout the Foodbanks warehouse and office areas as a precautionary measure. The Foodbank had previously implemented a strict cleaning policy after every volunteer shift which had been followed since mid-March. All volunteers that were in the building during or after the incident have been notified.
The Foodbank had already drastically cut back their volunteers, but is now suspending all volunteer operations for the immediate time period.
It is important to note that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and the main mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets (close personal contact) and not from touching inanimate objects such as food products. Our food is safe and we are advising that any client that receives food from the Foodbank treat it as though it was from the grocery store and take necessary precautions to disinfect the products.
The Arkansas Foodbank has been and will continue to follow guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control, Feeding America and the Arkansas Department of Health to protect our clients, partner agencies and volunteers from exposure.
The Arkansas Foodbank will continue to provide access to food for our neighbors in this critical time.