At the Food Bank in the Time of COVID-19

I have been volunteering at the food bank once a week after returning, and recovering, from the trip to India.  I have been there on three successive Tuesdays packing food boxes for customers.  There have been changes in the procedures that are being followed every single time I have gone, in order to try to keep people working in the warehouse safe. They have been getting stricter with time.  We have had to be very flexible about working out the kinks in the new processes as they are being created.  The number of boxes that are being delivered to families has also been increasing with each week that passes by.

Guests and volunteers do not have free access to the Manna warehouse anymore.  They are very careful about who is allowed in.  They clean the place out regularly.  I noticed that something had been sprayed over the lockers the last time I was there.  Most likely, it was disinfectant.

The tables on which we pack the boxes of  perishable food for customers have been separated from each other by greater and greater distances each week that I have been there.  This is to try to separate people who are doing their jobs from each other.  They would ideally like to have only one person at each table at any time.  In practice, that is a goal that is very difficult to achieve.  We have also been using disposable gloves to do our work.  We change them as often as needed.  They have guidelines in this regard, but the guidelines are only as good as how well they are followed by the employees and volunteers.  (I put on my regular cloth gloves under the disposable latex gloves yesterday because the latex gloves have a tendency to tear.)  Tables are disinfected each time a batch of boxes is packed and put away.  And finally, this week, we started to wear masks.  That takes some getting used to.  I am still learning. I felt that I could have used my mask in a more effective way yesterday.

I have been gladdened to see the same few employees and volunteers at the food bank again and again during the last three weeks.  The illness is amongst us, and I am always concerned that someone that I have been working with has caught something.  It is easily conceivable that somebody could be carrying the contagion without their knowledge.  That person could even be me.  And, with the ever increasing number of infections that are being reported in our part of the world these days, the probability of the presence of the virus in our midst is not insignificant.  We have to be vigilant.

Be safe.

Published by

K. Joseph

I am an engineer by training. I am exploring new horizons after having spent many years in the Industry. My interests are varied and I tend to write about what is on my mind at any particular moment in time.

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