NY Common Pantry has been closely monitoring the recent developments around the new coronavirus infection, COVID-19. As of this writing NY Common Pantry has taken a proactive and assertive approach to ensure the safety and well-being of participants, staff and volunteers.
Starting Saturday, March 7, we began to limit congregate services at our two Choice Pantry sites. We have instead offered take away food service for our Choice Pantry programs. On Monday, March 10, we began providing take away meals for our hot breakfast and dinner programs. We cancelled our Project Dignity hygiene program and have taken steps to minimize exposure of intake workers. Our mobile programs have taken the lead from the sites and locations where they provide services, either curtailing or cancelling, depending on the location. This is an emerging situation and we continue to review our program delivery and services daily.
NY Common Pantry is also taking steps to increase the frequency and type of cleanings at our facilities and locations, using products that are known to neutralize the virus and wiping down surfaces and door handles throughout the day. We have encouraged staff and volunteers to use proper hand washing techniques and also have significantly increased the number of alcohol-based hand sanitizers at our facilities. In addition, cleaning wipes are readily available in these public spaces. We have advised staff and volunteers to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and New York City https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page guidelines and recommendations. This includes taking precautions such as temporarily suspending all volunteer shifts until the end of the month. At that time, we will reassess.
In response to suspending volunteer shifts, and in partnership with freshdirect, we developed a plan to continue to serve our pantry programs without interruption. On Friday March 13, we alerted our volunteer community that we would be using field staff from other programs to work in our core food programs at Choice Pantry Bronx at 1290 Hoe Ave., Choice Pantry Manhattan and our hot meal program at 8 E. 109 St. As such, to limit any possible exposure, we have temporarily suspended volunteer operations at this time and will reassess at the end of March and then every week thereafter.
Please continue to visit our website and social media pages for updates.
The volume of emails from volunteers is expected to be high in the coming weeks. Please email Debby Lowenstein at email@example.com who will have an automated message with specific program and volunteer related news.