Food Banks Prepare for the Holiday Season Amidst COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the way everyone has lived, worked, and maintained social relationships throughout 2020. Businesses and charities alike have had to modify their normal daily operations to ensure the safety of employees and their clients.
Local food banks throughout the Palm Beach County area have been forced to do the same- during their busiest season of the year.
“In order to keep staff and clients safe, we are working primarily in a remote environment,” a spokesperson for the Ruth & Normal Rales Jewish Family Services said. “We are proud of our staff for creatively adapting programs and services to an online platform.”
Remotely offering services has been the adaptation many organizations have had to transition to, yet during the season of giving, JFS still chose to deliver holiday meals in lieu of their normal holiday banquet.
“Holidays in general can already be a trigger for many, especially those older adults with no family close by or no family at all to gather with,” said Danielle Hartman, JFS President and CEO. “That’s why maintaining some sense of ‘normal’ is so important and appreciated by the community. We will use this time to reflect on the holiday, and our gratitude for living in such a wonderful and caring community.”
While, JFS has chosen to transition to remote assistance, other local charities have been able to maintain in-person services. Gateway Community Outreach in Deerfield Beach works on prevention methods for those in need and due to their low staff number are able to continue working in their regular setting.
“We never closed down during this pandemic at all,” Carol Ray, President & CEO of Gateway Community Outreach said. “All of our sites have been open, and we have carried on with whatever we can do to maintain them during this crisis.”
COVID-19 has exacerbated economic situations for many people across the country that continue to struggle to pay their bills and put food on the table.
“It’s just been overwhelming, the population that is in deep, deep need.” Ray somberly noted. “The numbers are so high, and the situation was the tremendous need for food. It was not affordable. People have come to our main office and were starving because they would open up cans and eat something right away.”
Both JFS and Gateway Community Outreach work year-round to help local families, or individuals, in prevention, economic, and food assistance. More information for both of these organizations can be found here: https://gcoflorida.org/ and https://ralesjfs.org/