(Waterloo, IA – March 3, 2020The Northeast Iowa Food Bank has continued to monitor recent developments surrounding a growing concern of COVID-19 (coronavirus) as the Food Bank’s leaders continue to maintain direct lines of communication to the organizations at the forefront of shaping this evolving public health policy. Through the CDC, Feeding America, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Black Hawk County Health Department, the Food Bank remains confident that they are prepared to lead on this issue locally as it pertains to their mission of ensuring that food is accessible to anyone, anywhere in northeast Iowa dealing with chronic or situational hunger. As a result, the Food Bank well remain open for normal operations. 

 “Through our Feeding America network of experts, our team at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank has been able to develop a preventative measures plan that is based heavily on our rigorous food-safety training and accreditations to implement what many are now coming to learn as universal best-practices when these situations arise,” stated Barb Prather, Executive Director of the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. “This issue is personal for us, as it not only affects every aspect of food sourcing and distribution, but it’s also a growing concern among many of the populations we serve, specifically seniors and families.” 

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank has begun addressing this growing concern, by focusing on 3 simple rules that make up the bulk of food-safety best practices. Not only are these measures easy to remember but they apply to the vast number of people groups that the Food Bank works with and serves everyday across northeast Iowa.    

 For anyone volunteering or visiting the Food Bank, our primary focus is threefold: First, if you’re feeling sick, stay home. If you need to use our services, we are confident we have the infrastructure to ensure we meet our obligation to you. Secondly, if you have hand sanitizer, use it. And finally,” states Prather, And finally, we are asking our staff and those visiting to wash their hands. Visitors can be assured we follow high standards for cleanliness, but we are still adding additional processes to ensure the facility is clean. 

The Food Bank is confident that their current infrastructure, food-safety practices, and the public’s participation in these preventative measures, can greatly influence the local outcome, even as the ever-changing current national COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. They also state, that now, perhaps more than ever, is when  donations and other means of support can make the most impact. With donations, up to $10,000, being matched throughout April, the Food Bank will count on this support as they prepare strategies for numerous scenarios the following months may deliver their way.