Campbell River Food Bank Manager Debbie Willis says they are trying to stay open for as long as possible. File Photo

‘We’re trying to stay open as long as we can,’ says food bank manager

Campbell River Food Bank no longer allowing clients into building, distributing outside

The Campbell River Food Bank’s distribution day is going to look a lot different.

In an effort to stay open for as long as they can, the food bank has undergone many changes in how they operate this week.

A typical week at the food bank includes smaller handouts (like produce, dairy and bread) on Monday and Friday. Distribution Days are the first three Wednesdays of the month.

The main difference that clients will notice is that they won’t be permitted in the building to get their box. They will receive it outside. Clients will also be asked to maintain a safe distance between others and there will be security on-hand.

With this week’s announcement from the B.C. Health Officer to limit gatherings to 50 people, the food bank will also be looking to minimize the size of the crowd. They serve about 2,000 clients each month.

“It seems like draconian measures,” said food bank manager Debbie Willis, “but I want to be alive and I want them to be alive.”

On Sunday, the food bank put into motion a series of measures aimed at keeping staff, volunteers and clients safe while still staying open.

RELATED: ‘Food recovery program working brilliantly,’ says food bank manager

Willis said they spent Monday cleaning every inch of the warehouse with bleach and are shifting to delivering packages on distribution day to outside.

“We’re trying to ensure their safety,” she said. “We really don’t want to close.”

They weren’t able to open on Monday for additional handouts as the cleaning wasn’t done yet, but they are moving ahead with this month’s final distribution day Wednesday and will see how the new measures go before deciding on Friday’s smaller handout operations.

Many of the food bank client’s don’t have access to social media, so she’s hoping they will find out about the changes through word of mouth and won’t be too surprised on Wednesday.

Willis said she’s tried to place her normal orders with grocery stores, but due to the unfolding situation, they’re unable to guarantee availability.

RELATED: Campbell River Food Bank full steam ahead after tough week

The food bank isn’t going to be rationing, rather they’re being prudent with food and products.

And they aren’t going to run out anytime soon. Willis said that even without additional shipments, they could remain open until the end of May if nothing new arrived.

“We’re trying to stay open as long as we can,” she said.

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