Dear Agencies,

Effective Immediately.

Due to concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and because of the potential of many people handling food in our warehouse, we are temporarily suspending agencies from coming into the warehouse until further notice.  We apologize for any difficulties this may cause.  We are doing this out of an abundance of caution.

However, we are still “open for business” and will be delivering orders as scheduled.  If you do schedule a pick up, we are asking that you stay outside in your vehicle and we will bring your order out to you…kind of like curbside delivery!  In the event that a staff member has not seen you outside waiting, you can call the front office at (607) 724-9130 and let them know you are here for a pick-up.

For those agencies that come in to pick recovered food (i.e. – produce, bread, etc.) on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday, we are going to compile a list of what we have and email and/or post it, so you know what is there and so you can still access it.  That too we will bring out to your vehicle, or deliver if necessary.

The building will still be open, so if you need to speak to someone from the Council or CHOW, come to the front entrance.

We are taking extra steps to make sure everything is clean, sanitized and disinfected and we encourage you and your agency to do the same.  As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

We are also creating contingency plans and guidelines in the event that the health department mandates restrictions on group gatherings that would affect meal sites and pantries.

For the latest information about the virus, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html 

We know this is an inconvenience, but we are trying to do our best to keep the food flowing and keep people healthy.  This is only temporary.  We don’t anticipate any issues, but wanted to be proactive.  Our goal is to ensure that those in our community who need the services of your pantries and community meals continue to get them.

This is uncharted waters for all of us, so we are asking that you please be patient with our staff as we do our best to serve you during this evolving situation.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Thank you for your understanding and for all you do for our community!

Les Aylesworth
Broome County Council of Churches
3 Otseningo St.
Binghamton, NY 13903
607-724-9130 ext. 317
www.broomecouncil.net

***Please take a moment to read this information***

Dear Agencies,

I spoke to the County Health Department to get recommendations about our various pantries and meal sites and how we can mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.  One of the main takeaways from that conversation was the reminder that CHOW pantries and community meals are considered Essential Services, so therefore ought to remain open.  Like a hospital that must stay open to get medical care to those in need, we are administering “nutritional care”, if you will, to those in need.  In other words, the community needs us now more than ever!

So our hope and expectation is that your pantry and meal site remain “open for business” and follow these basic guidelines from the Health Department to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

  • Hand washing and sanitizing – use good hygiene when it comes to handling food and people
    o   Hand washing and sanitizing area – observe that it’s been done
    o   Don’t touch your face after touching food or surfaces and vice versa – again, use good food handling practices
    o   Clean surfaces regularly
  • Social Distancing – this is the toughest because our services are all about meeting people where they are at.  Here are a few recommendations:
    o   3 feet between people at meals – the distance for spreading the virus is around 3 feet; so consider spacing seating between folks, next to and across
    o   “Take Out” meals – consider preparing meals to go for folks you may suspect are ill or who don’t want to stay.
    o   Limit the number of people in your pantry – consider preparing bags for pick up or filling orders for people while they wait outside

In addition to these recommendations, we are also asking that you:

  • Know your clientele – in the event that people who regularly access your pantry and/or meal cannot get to you
    o   Create a list of those who are most likely to have limited access
    o   Check in on them via phone and find out what they need.
    o   Please forward those lists to us, so if you are unable to reach them, we can make sure someone gets to them.
  • Be prepared to deliver food – not all our agencies have this ability, but for those who do, that list will come in handy.
    o   For those who cannot deliver, we will do our best to ensure they get what they need.

We know this is all a very unique situation and you will probably have to get creative to keep your operation running smoothly.  Again, this is a very fluid situation and as more information comes in we will do our best to communicate it to you.  And if you need anything, please let us know.

We are doing our best to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.  We are ordering in extra food, trying to get our hands on disinfectant items and building contingency plans.  But it’s times like this where we and the community see the importance of what you do – so thank you.

In this together,

Les Aylesworth
Broome County Council of Churches
3 Otseningo St.
Binghamton, NY 13903
607-724-9130 ext. 317
www.broomecouncil.net