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Redwood Empire Food Bank is still open and continuing its daily operations, with one exception. In order to minimize exposure for all concerned, and keep our staff healthy so we can tend to the food needs of our community, we have discontinued volunteer shifts.
Redwood Empire Food Bank is still open and continuing its daily operations, with one exception. In order to minimize exposure for all concerned, and keep our staff healthy so we can tend to the food needs of our community, we have discontinued volunteer shifts. Images: refb.org

Redwood Empire Food Bank’s 
Response to Coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

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Nicole Lorange

The Redwood Empire Food Bank’s operations are continuing as normal, with the exception of canceling volunteer shifts at our warehouse location. However, circumstances are fluid, and we’ll be updating this page with the most recent information. We are monitoring the situation closely and taking necessary precautions to help make sure that food and product remain safe and that our distributions can continue.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is committed to the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors. We are closely monitoring announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that we are following their recommended guidelines. In addition, the Redwood Empire Food Bank is taking the following proactive and voluntary steps to help reduce contact and/or spread of Coronavirus:

•  Canceling all volunteer shifts at 3990 Brickway Boulevard location through Friday, March 27

•  Providing gloves to all volunteers handling food at our distribution sites

•  Making hand sanitizers available throughout our sites

•  Increasing the visibility and importance of handwashing

•  Advising people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands

•  Advising people to avoid close contact with people who are sick

•  Advising staff and volunteers to stay home if they display signs of illness or come into contact with affected individuals

Below, we have provided answers to questions regarding Coronavirus.

1. Is the Redwood Empire Food Bank still open and continuing its daily operations?

Yes, with one exception. In order to minimize exposure for all concerned, and keep our staff healthy so we can tend to the food needs of our community, we have discontinued volunteer shifts at the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s facility (3990 Brickway Blvd) starting Friday, March 13 at 3:00 pm through Friday, March 27.

All of our distribution programs are running as normal.

2. Is the Redwood Empire Food Bank still accepting volunteers at the Santa Rosa warehouse?

No. We have discontinued volunteer shifts at the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s facility (3990 Brickway Boulevard) through Friday, March 27.

3. Is the Redwood Empire Food Bank closing any food distributions due to Coronavirus?

The situation is fluid, but when at all possible distributions will continue as scheduled. In the event that a public gathering is not permitted, we will do our best to offer drive-thru food distributions in high-risk neighborhoods. We plan to adapt as necessary, just as we have for all disasters be they political, economical or natural. At our distribution sites, we are expanding hours to limit clustering. We are also spacing food to allow for social distancing. We are in contact with the California Department of Social Services. We have also been communicating with our 170+ partner organizations on CDC advice along with updates and guidance from Feeding America and National Council on Aging. 

We currently do not have a home delivery program. We encourage caregivers, family members and neighbors to pick-up for seniors who are homebound or unable to make the distribution. We have over 250 food distribution points and have new locations we have opened up in the last six months.

For a full list of our regular food distribution sites throughout Sonoma County and surrounding counties, please visit   https://getfood.refb.org

4. Is Redwood Empire Food Bank hosting special Coronavirus food distributions for people in need?

Redwood Empire Food Bank distributes food to more than 82,000 individuals a month in Sonoma County and beyond. We do this in partnership with more than 170 nonprofit partners ranging from food pantries to soup kitchens. At this time, the Redwood Empire Food Bank does not anticipate adding special distributions due to Coronavirus. However, should the need arise, we have a program called Station 3990 which is activated when there is a disaster (be it political, natural, economic, or public health). If activated, we will establish food distribution outposts throughout our community. Click here to access a list of existing distribution sites:  https://getfood.refb.org

5. What is the Redwood Empire Food Bank doing to reduce contact and/or the spread of Coronavirus?

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is committed to the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors. We are closely monitoring announcements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that we are following their recommended guidelines. The Redwood Empire Food Bank is taking the following proactive and voluntary steps to help reduce contact and/or spread of Coronavirus while visiting.

•  Canceling all volunteer shifts at 3990 Brickway Boulevard through March 27, 2020.

•  Providing gloves to all volunteers and staff handling food at our distribution sites and warehouse

•  Making hand sanitizers available throughout our distributions and warehouse

•  Increasing the visibility and importance of handwashing

•  Recommending people avoid touching their eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands

•  Recommending people avoid close contact with people who are sick

•  Recommending staff, clients, volunteers, and donors to stay away from work, school or other people if they become sick with respiratory   symptoms such as fever and cough

For more information on Coronavirus, please visit the federal  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website  and theCalifornia Department of Public Health website.  Both websites are updated daily with the latest information and advice for the public.

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