The COVID-19 pandemic has brought dramatic changes to everyone’s
lives and daily routines, including the operation of the food bank at the Kendalwood
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Whitby, Ont.
novel coronavirus outbreak, the Kendalwood food bank was a place of warmth for
both staff and clients. Routine days began with staff worship and then
preparation to unload and organize goods that would come from the Feed the Need
truck. Staff members were always equipped with gloves as they served and
participated in the regularly anticipated sit-down lunches. In the evenings,
clients would come in to pick up their boxes of goods.
always greeted with smiles and hugs, and an offer to have their blood pressure
checked and receive counsel on health by volunteer nurses. Warm soups and pizza
from Domino’s Pizza were also given. If clients wanted someone to talk to or
pray with, volunteers were available. Birthday and anniversary celebrants were
sung to. Then, COVID-19 came and everything changed.
March 16, Marcia White, director of the Kendalwood food bank, was given notice
that while the food bank could still operate, logistics were changing by the
hour, so protocols would need to change just as quickly.
of Whitby, Maleeha Shahid, contacted the food bank to ask how she could help. Marcia
communicated the food bank’s needs and Coun. Maleeha provided contacts that
could assist. Whitby’s mayor, Don
Mitchell, dropped off masks so that food bank staff could protect themselves.
Further, Coun. Shahid not only volunteered her time at the food bank but also
took much needed supplies, such as individual bags for packing groceries,
diapers, oils, rice, and much more. Shahid even helped to promote the food bank
by creating a video outlining the food bank’s needs, which has been posted on
YouTube. Within minutes of the video being posted, the food bank began
receiving items from the community.
Now the Kendalwood food bank’s new normal includes daily
disinfection of working areas, including tables and railings, by a volunteer.
In addition, the volunteer must restock the disinfecting table at the food bank’s
entrance with sanitizer and masks. Volunteers must sanitize and mask themselves
upon entry, then go downstairs, where they do a thorough handwashing, get their
temperature checked, put on gloves, and finally sign in with their temperature recorded.
The food bank now
uses different areas of the Kendalwood church to reduce close contact of staff
and establish social distancing. Instead of having clients pack their boxes, food
bank staff pack bags and give them to clients in the order they arrive. The food
bank’s new system resembles a drive-through pickup service. Deliveries are made
to seniors and clients in quarantine.
In general, all
clients are very thankful that they are able to continue receiving food. The
food bank has noticed that everyone has been more giving since the pandemic. In
fact, the Kendalwood food bank states that it has received the most food in their
entire operational history! And not only has more food been donated, but better-quality
food. The number of clients has increased by 40 percent, but the food bank
thanks God for the ability to supply most of their needs, with 75 percent of
the boxes having perishable food items (fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs,
yogurts, milk, cheese, and butter).
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastation to many, but it has also brought out the best in many more.
—Marcia White, director, Kendalwood Foodbank