As the long lines at any local Costco suggest, the coronavirus/COVID 19 phenomenon has caused some to interpret news reports advising sensible precautions such as “wash your hands thoroughly” to mean “buy a car-full of toilet paper.”
Talk of a potential quarantine has only added to the fervor, as citizens are advised to stock up on food for up to two weeks. But what of those who can’t don masks and charge through sprawling stores looking for tuna packets?
The Houston Food Bank is asking that local residents assist those who do not have reserves of food in the event of service disruptions and closures. The non-profit has put out a call for volunteers to help pack essential quarantine food kits. The boxes are not yet being requested, but will be necessary in the event there is a need due to COVID-19 occurrences in their service area, according to the Food Bank.
“Hundreds of thousands of people are counting on the organization and its partners now, and this need will only heighten if the COVID-19 situation worsens,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank.
Volunteers can sign up for shifts online to help pack these boxes at the Food Bank, 535 Portwall St. Volunteer shifts run from 8 am to noon Monday–Saturday, from 6 pm to 9 pm Monday–Friday, and from 9 am to noon Sunday.
To quell any obvious concerns about safety, the Food Bank has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, especially around high-traffic areas, such as volunteer areas, elevators, meeting rooms, bathrooms, food areas.
Greene also notes that volunteers can bring much-needed items to donate and pack. The Food Bank’s most-needed items include:
- Peanut butter
- Canned protein
- Nutritious snacks
- Canned Vegetable
- Canned fruit
- Hygiene items
- Cleaning supplies: paper towels, disinfectant, bleach wipes
- Bottled water
And, says Greene, “a little something sweet like cookies never hurt.”