The Coronavirus outbreak is on everyone’s mind. Whether you are at the grocery store, gas station, or in the hallways at your workplace, the latest event cancellation or COVID-19 related news story is the hot topic of conversation.
For most, stocking the pantry is just a matter of waiting in a long line at the nearest grocery store or warehouse shopping retailer. Unfortunately for those facing hunger, who are living paycheck to paycheck, the idea of stocking up to be home for an extended period of time is simply not possible. That’s why everyone at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and our partner agencies is focused on making sure those most vulnerable continue to have access to the resources they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In order to meet the need while protecting the safety of the program participants, volunteers, and staff we are temporarily moving to all of our food being pre-boxed. We anticipate over the next 6-8 weeks that we will need to distribute 100,000 boxes of food to those facing hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. We're calling it our Care Box campaign. In order to achieve this unprecedented feat, we need both funds and volunteers.
In addition to the Care Box campaign, we wanted to take a few moments to share what else we’re doing during this national emergency:
For Program Participants
- We are temporarily moving to all of our food being pre-boxed rather than each item being available individually. Doing this will reduce the overall time spent picking up food, significantly reduce or eliminate lines and groups of people in a waiting area, and reduce the number of volunteers needed to serve those picking up food.
- We are working with our food sources – both through donations and purchases of food – to make sure we can meet any increased demand caused by this health crisis
- We are working with our partner agencies to implement ways participants can get the food they need by extending hours of operation or increasing the number of times a participant can get food in a given time period
For our Volunteers
- We have temporarily canceled group volunteer shifts in an effort to reduce the number of people coming in to our facility
- We are encouraging our incredibly loyal senior volunteers to stay home rather than risk exposure to the virus
For Our Partner Agencies
- We have been in regular communication with our partner agencies to share best practices and resources from across the Feeding America network (Second Harvest is a member of Feeding America, the nations largest domestic hunger-relief organization)
- We are developing a section of our website that will be a centralized source of COVID-19 related information from sources like the CDC, Feeding America, and Second Harvest
For Our Staff
- We are asking staff who can work remotely to do so
- We are implementing technological solutions like video chat software and emergency texting services to stay in regular contact with all staff
For Our Supporters
- We remain committed to our mission to eliminate hunger in our 16-county service area
- We are maintaining business as usual, but we have contingencies in place
- We are closely monitoring the situation
- The safety and wellbeing of our participants, partners, volunteers, and staff are our top priority
How You Can Help
- We need volunteers to help pre-box food, to see what shifts are available, click here or the Volunteer button below
- Between purchasing more food, adding more deliveries, and having paid staff do the activities volunteers would normally do, our expenses are going to go up significantly. If you would like to make a financial donation to help offset these increased costs, click the button below.
If you have any questions about our response to the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit SecondHarvestMadison.org/Coronavirus, or contact Kris Tazelaar (Director of Marketing & Communications) or Michelle Orge (President & CEO).