Both SOURCES and the Langley food bank will remain open amidst COVID-19 outbreak. (Langley Advance Times files)

Both SOURCES and the Langley food bank will remain open amidst COVID-19 outbreak. (Langley Advance Times files)

Both SOURCES and the Langley Food Bank to remain open amid COVID-19 closures

Jaye Murray, SOURCES program director, said food banks are deemed an essential human service

Both the Langley Food Bank and SOURCES Langley Food Bank will remain open amid the COVID-19 closures.

SOURCES Community Resource Centre released a statement saying in-person services will be suspended for the next two weeks, effective Wednesday, March 18, but programs deemed to be a provider of essential human services, such as food bank operations, would continue.

The statement said “we will continue to see clients on an essential and urgent basis only. To the extent that we can provide help by electronic or other remote means, we will. However, if our staff feel that would be detrimental to the health and safety of the client and the client does not have a means of accessing remote service, we will make arrangements to see them in-person while taking necessary precautions including sanitizing before and after appointments and maintaining social distancing during the session. We are suspending community visits, drop-in programs, outreach, training programs, and support groups.”

Jaye Murray, SOURCES program director, said they will be taking extra precautions as far as social distancing and services go.

“Extra work is going into ensuring all volunteers are wearing gloves and sanitizing all counters and shelf space as frequently as possible,” Murray said.

She added that Sources is asking people with any symptoms at all to please not attend and those that do use hand sanitizer before entering.

“We purchase fresh fruit and vegetables weekly, but find that this is being effected as some stores aren’t getting their full order so it in turn means we don’t get our full order so hopefully the large grocery stores are able to keep up with the demand,” Murray continued.

Jim Calamunce, executive director of the Langley Food Bank, said extra precautions have been taken at their facility, including gloves, masks, and asking anyone with a cough or symptoms to stay home and have their groceries delivered.

“We are practising social spacing,” Calamunce assured. “We have younger volunteers up front and older volunteers in the back. We have about 40 to 50 bins in the front and so no one can come inside the building. Volunteers don’t have to take people’s cards – they just have to show them. And they don’t physically touch any of the food – we’ve asked that they point and a gloved volunteer will place it in their basket. The whole process should take one minute.”

Calamunce said supplies are still good for the time being, but donations are always appreciated – he listed meat, veggies, and fresh fruit as the biggest needs at this time.

“It’s an honour to serve people, but safety comes first,” he assured, adding that the Langley Food Bank regularly serves 690 families every month.

The Langley Food Bank distributes food Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

The office is open on Tuesday and Thursday for accepting donations and pre-scheduled appointments; there is no distribution on those days.

SOURCES is open to clients Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donations can still be made onsite Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

READ MORE: Stolen Sources Langley Food Bank van found

SOURCES Langley Food Bank has 1,500 registered clients and serves about 600 people a week, 42 per cent of them children.

Individuals and families who live on a low income in the Langley area (Zero Avenue to the Fraser River, east of 196th Street and west of 276th Street) are eligible and can visit langleyfoodbank.com or sourcesfoundation.ca.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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