The Comox Valley Food Bank is having to close its doors on McPhee Avenue for now.
The agency had hoped to stay open to serve vulnerable people, but because of health concerns, a drop-off in donations as well as visits from people needing food, they have made the decision to close.
The Record talked to president Mitch Moncrieff Tuesday morning, just as people at the food bank were in the process of shutting their doors.
“I thought we would be able to stay open,” he said.
They will be taking measures to distribute the perishable food they have to agencies they normally work with, such as the Washington Apartments.
Moncrieff said it was a difficult decision, but they felt the need to socially isolate in response to government calls put the organization in a position where they felt the responsible thing to do right now is close the doors.
He said a nurse who volunteers told him about the measures that health care workers are taking not to risk spreading the virus at work or at home, such as changing clothes in their garage or even sleeping in recreation vehicles.
He had told The Record last week, the number of donations had dropped recently. At the time, they were still seeing regular numbers of people arriving for food. However, this has dwindled in recent days to half dozen or so people.
“People are staying home,” he said. “Eveything’s upside down since last week.”
At that time, the food bank had asked anyone with any signs of illness to stay away for the safety of staff and other patrons. They had brought in a “no touch” policy and drew lines on the floor to demarcate how far people were to stand from distribution tables. Visitors were also asked to read their identification or show it to staff from a distance rather than enter the office. During distribution, they put a bag or banana box on the table and staff filled it to avoid contact.
The situation for the immediate future is unclear, and Moncrieff said the Comox Valley Food Bank Facebook page is the best place find out about updates for its service.
“We will be open as soon as we can,” he said.