COVID-19 Service Updates
In the same way we adapt to the changing seasons throughout the year, Archway Food Bank has had to adapt how we operate given the unpredictable season we’re in. In our attempt to increase guest safety due to growing concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we have had to adapt how we deliver some of our services.
We are taking precautions to keep our guests safe. This includes adapting the amount of people in the building at one time, ensuring the amount of times food is handled is kept to a minimum, increasing sanitation of surfaces and washing hands constantly. COVID-19 is hitting the Food Bank hard. Not only are we operating with limited staff and volunteers, but the demand in service has increased significantly and it’s only the beginning. With decrease in manpower and increase in service demand, we have had to make some tough choices.
How does this affect my visit to pick up a hamper?
We wish we had enough staff and product to be able to accommodate every allergy and food preference. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have had to limit the amount of shopping our guests are able to do. Unfortunately, this results in even less ability to customize food requests. These are the unfortunate cut-backs we are being forced to make during this difficult season. We still try to meet the needs of vegetarians, those with Halal restrictions, and those living with Celiac.
When guests arrive, they will be asked to wait outside in a lineup. The amount of space between each person in line should be 2 meters. Cones and lines have been set up to help guests identify the required distance. At this time no guest will be able to enter the Food Bank, but food will be brought out. We appreciate the patience of each person as we distribute food safely.
Below are some questions answered by BC Center for Disease Control, about the care you should give to food during the Pandemic.
Does cooking kill the COVID-19 virus?
Yes. Normal cooking temperatures for foods will kill COVID-19 and other microbes in food. As with other microbes our advice is to always use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the food has reached 74°C.
Does the COVID-19 virus grow on food? Should I be concerned about storing foods in my cupboard, fridge, or freezer?
No. COVID-19 is a virus and does not grow. It may survive in foods and on surfaces for a few hours to a few days before it dies off. However, it is not believed that the virus is transmitted by eating contaminated food. The virus is transmitted by droplets spread from a sick person. If the COVID-19 virus is on the surface of a food and stored in a cupboard, fridge, or freezer, there is no evidence that it can grow or multiply further. We do not know if COVID-19 can survive refrigerator or freezer temperatures. While there are no special precautions needed when storing food, we recommend washing your hands after putting away food you have purchased and before preparing food.
Can the COVID-19 virus be passed on by eating or touching ready to eat foods made by others?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through food made by infected people. COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. There is a theoretical risk that a person infected with COVID-19 could spread the virus by sneezing on food or by directly touching food with their hands. However, there have been no cases reported of such transmission with COVID-19. To be safe, if you are sick with COVID-19, do not prepare or handle food for others.
Use good hygienic practices when handling food. Avoid bare hand contact. For example, use utensils, deli napkins, or dispensing equipment to handle food. We recommend frequent hand washing with plain soap and water to reduce risk of transmission if you are preparing foods.
When handling foods at home hand-washing with soap and water should occur:
• Before, during and after preparing foods,
• After handling any raw foods,
• Before eating foods,
• After using the washroom,
• After touching pets,
• After changing diapers
• After wiping runny noses or any hand contact with your face or your children’s face
Can COVID-19 be passed on by eating or touching raw fruits and vegetables?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread through eating or touching raw fruits or vegetables. When preparing fresh fruits and vegetables, wash or scrub them under cold, running, potable tap water prior to consumption. Prevent cross contamination by keeping fruits and vegetables separate from raw foods. For more information please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.