Food & Friends’ Statement in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

- March 5, 2020

Find our latest statement from March 13th here.

 

March 5th, 2020

Food & Friends is closely following developments and federal guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, also known as novel coronavirus outbreak. As a health-focused organization that prepares food for people who are already sick, we always take special care to ensure our food is nutritious and safe. Our clients are among the most vulnerable in our community – protecting their health, as well as our staff and volunteers’ health, is our highest priority.

We are heartened that The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for reducing coronavirus infection focus on practices that are already ingrained in Food & Friends’ culture and daily operations. These apply to staff and volunteers and include:

  • Washing hands regularly with soap and warm water;
  • Not touching your face, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Using disinfectant wipes to sanitize doorknobs, faucets, keyboards, and other “high touch” surfaces;
  • Covering mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and
  • Staying home when ill.

Food & Friends will continue to monitor the all updates issued by the CDC, District Government and the Office of the Mayor, and other reputable scientific entities. We have no plans to alter our delivery schedule at this time, but should that need arise in the future, we will take measures to ensure that our clients have enough food at home. Several factors position us well for dealing with the potential challenge.

We as an organization are well-practiced in pre-delivering meals in the case of weather emergencies or other events that shut down portions of the city. Additionally, each of our clients receives two days’ worth of meals or two weeks’ worth of groceries at a time, allowing us to further front-load deliveries. Finally, regularly delivering shelf-stable items to our clients specifically for use during emergencies is already part of our normal service. We will update our community if it is determined that additional actions need to be taken.

Understandably, disease outbreaks can lead to unrest and alarm. Unfortunately, there have been reports of racial and ethnic profiling associated with the coronavirus outbreak in the Washington area and nationally. Food & Friends has ZERO tolerance for any type of discrimination or racial/ethnic profiling. We join Mayor Bowser’s call for area residents to counter stigma by only sharing accurate and trusted information, including that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups.

Lastly, while coronavirus has dominated the national news, the United States is still in the grip of the annual flu season. According to the CDC, there is a high level of influenza infection in our region. Food & Friends asks that everyone in its community be vigilant in maintaining the hygiene and sanitary practices outlined above.

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