Surprisingly, it has been business as usual at the food bank in downtown North Battleford.
Erin Katerynych, executive director of the Battlefords and District Food and Resource Centre, says the service has not seen an increase in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But she anticipates that will change and they are taking measures in an attempt to be prepared.
Many hampers, larger than usual, have been prepared with the help of volunteers, although older volunteers are being asked to stay home.
“We actually had Battleford and Area Sexual Assault Centre come down last week and made 120 perishable food hampers for us. We are using that and hopefully they will last a week to a week and a half,” says Katerynych.
She said monetary donations have been coming in, and when SIGA closed the Kihiw Restaurant they food bank received a thousand pounds of food.
“And we are still getting calls from people who are interested in helping and wanting to donate food or donating money. Battlefords has always been great at coming together when we need support and I honestly expect the same this time,” she says.
Federal government and national food bank support may be forthcoming in the future, but Katerynych points out it sometimes takes time to process.
In day-to-day operations the organization has several measures in place to protect clients, staff and volunteers. Hampers are packed in cardboard boxes rather than plastic bags, making contact as brief as possible. There is plexiglass between workers and clients and all staff and volunteers are adhering to Saskatchewan Health Authority advice regarding hand washing, not touching the face and keeping everything clean.