Metro Phoenix Food Banks Modifying Operations To Prevent Spreading Coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 3:38pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 7:53am

Food banks around the Phoenix metro region are modifying how they operate to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while serving an uptick in need.

One of the Valley’s largest organizations has already seen a significant increase in the number of people they serve.

Nathan Smith, director of community engagement for Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope For Hunger Food Bank, said Tuesday that its Glendale facility is remaining open but volunteer workers are prepackaging food and those in need are driving through to pick it up.

"Instead of people getting out of the cars, sitting in the lobby then going to the computer to do intake, then going to the warehouse for their food, we’re just prepackaging all the food. We’re wheeling it out to them so we can still make sure people get the food they need while keeping staff and volunteers safe," Smith said. 

Smith said the organization provides food for an average of 150 households per weekday, but that number climbed to over 210 on Monday and is expected to increase.

"Part of what came out from the White House is that it’s seeming like this is going to drag on awhile,” he said. “That’s the closest future-oriented information that we have and so we’re starting to ask, 'How do we operate our programs on more of a longer term.'"

In addition to Glendale, Smith’s organization provides homeless outreach services in Goodyear, Avondale and Peoria. He said those municipal governments haven’t yet provided guidance on whether those contracts will be suspended or fulfilled amid such a fluid situation.

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