Keeping the Calgary Food Bank community healthy during COVID-19
May 13, 2020
The Calgary Food Bank had to quickly adjust to the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic two months ago. Since then, we have continued to serve our community in a way that minimizes risk to the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and clients.
Out of commitment to our core value of health and safety, we will be maintaining our current processes even as Alberta moves forward with its relaunch plan. Drive-through hamper distribution and current scheduling protocols for volunteering and hamper pickup will be in effect until further notice.
IMPROVING EMERGENCY FOOD HAMPER ACCESSIBILITY
Clients can now validate their identification online, minimizing risk during hamper pickup (fewer physical objects exchanged and less contact required), as well as making it easy for a third party to pick up a hamper on a client’s behalf. Clients can securely upload their ID, have it validated by Food Bank staff, and then receive a QR code to share with the person picking up their hamper. The individual picking up the hamper no longer has to produce original ID for everyone in the household or bring an authorization letter from the client. This new process protects client privacy and the safety of everyone at the Food Bank, while still letting us ensure that the correct people in a household are receiving food. Identification is deleted from our system once validated.
We have also adjusted client eligibility for subsequent hampers; clients now only need to wait 10 days between hamper requests. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for a hamper, please call our request line.
Need Food? Our Hamper Request line is open. You must call first as emergency hamper distribution is by appointment only; please call 403-253-2055. Please be patient and try again if your call is disconnected. If you arrive without an appointment, you may be asked to exit the line, call the hamper request line and return at your assigned time.
Ourr main location uses a drive-through model for hamper distribution. Please follow all traffic instructions and ensure you have room in your vehicle, ideally your trunk, for your hamper. If you do not have a vehicle, please let our volunteers know when you phone us. Calgary Transit Route 30 goes to our main location; please check online for the current schedule.
Some of our satellite locations are open for hamper distribution. These locations are not drive-through, but social distancing and other protocols have been implemented.
In order to reduce the risk of illness in our facilities, we are limiting volunteers to one shift each per week. Currently all our volunteer shifts are full, but we may add new shift times and roles as needed. If you have registered to volunteer but there are no shifts available right now, keep your eye on your email for any future volunteer opportunities. A huge thank you to everyone who has donated their time!
We continue to experience high demand and a great need for food and funds. There are a variety of ways that you can help feed YYC:
- We are regularly picking up donations from our grocery partners. If you are grocery shopping, please consider picking up some extra items and leaving them in the donation bin in the store. Our most needed items can be found on our wish list.
- Donated funds help us purchase essential hamper items. We ask that donations be made online or over the phone rather than in person at our facility.
- Many local businesses are donating proceeds from sales and running virtual food drives to support us. We often highlight these on our social media, so connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with all our updates!
Thank you to everyone who is helping us serve the community through this difficult and uncertain time, however long it may last. We couldn’t be more grateful to be community owned and community supported!
Connect with us
General Email Inquiries
403-253-2059 Ext. 227
403-253-2059 Ext. 230
PLEASE CALL 403-253-2055
IMPORTANT: You must call ahead and book a hamper.
What is highlighted in times of disaster – be it fire, flood or pandemic – is that food needs to be part of the response; unfortunately, it is rarely considered. Policy around food does not engage with the established food service charities providing the stop gap. Food banks and food service organizations are experts in the implementation of food safety, public health and social wellbeing. We advocate for change and client security in the long run.
Are you referring your clients to the Emergency Food Hamper Program? Keep up-to-date on the latest program and operational updates to the program and the referral processes during COVID-19.
In the last two weeks, we have worked diligently, implementing our pandemic response plan. It includes complex logistics that ensure thousands of people receive Essential Food Hampers through revised processes. The impact is considerable, and we continue to be focused on providing food and services while ensuring safety. We acted immediately but our systems are built to last.
The Calgary Food Bank and how we are responding to COVID-19. We are working on implementing new protocols to safely serve the community, and keep staff and volunteers safe while doing our part to protect public health.