I am happy to inform you that due to the hard work and preparation of our team, we will be resuming our Healthy Meals Program effective April 13th! I cannot thank our team and supporters enough who helped us prepare and continue our mission through this limited suspension.
Although we will be resuming our program, our operations will look very different in order to ensure we are safely conducting our program while protecting our volunteers and clients. Some of the major changes are:
- We will be decreasing the number of volunteers that enter our kitchen by 87%.
- This is the bare minimum number of people we believe we need to operate our program in this limited capacity.
- The volunteer slots will be filled with staff & experienced adult volunteers that will be selected and screened by our Executive Team.
- We will be restructuring our shifts and processes to effectively limit the number of individuals in our kitchen, while focusing our work on meal preparation.
- We will only allow a maximum of 6 volunteers/staff in the kitchen during shifts.
- We will be starting with a limited menu to ensure our skeleton crew of volunteers & staff can effectively produce the number of meals.
- After each week, we will reassess to see if the workload is manageable and if it’s possible to increase our number of meals. Our goal is to get our clients a full menu as soon as possible.
- Each individual in our kitchen will be required to wear gloves & a mask at all times.
- Each individual will have their temperature read prior to entering the kitchen.
- Each individual will be screened to ensure they have not had any risk of exposure.
- When in the kitchen we will have marked areas to ensure our volunteers & staff are practicing social distancing.
- We will only be using compostable one-use containers, as well as paper bags, for delivery, to limit the amount of returning Snapware & refrigerated bags.
- Delivery Angels will continue our care package procedure where they will be provided safety equipment, and will follow a ‘curbside pickup’ process to again limit the number of individuals in our kitchen.
- We will also be exploring additional shifts on Wednesdays to supplement our client meals and/or create extra soups/broth to provide to first responders and other community members in need.
I’d like to reassure you all that this decision to restart operations was carefully considered and thought through. As the cases in Illinois have continued to increase, the team and I have weighed the risks of remaining suspended versus re-opening. We feel that we can effectively operate in a safe manner to support our clients during this critical time.
It is in my opinion that, now more than ever, our clients need our immune supporting meals to not only assist their recovery, but to limit their risk of contracting COVID-19. By safely delivering meals to our clients, we can help them to limit their need to leave their homes.
Our program is a critical support to our community and it is critical that we do everything we can to support those in need, while doing our part to flatten the curve. All of our policies have been carefully considered and aligned with the CDC, Governor’s office, IL Department of Public Health, Kane County Health Department, as well as our Ceres Affiliate Partners.
I am extremely excited to start our program again and, although it will be a different, I know we will still be able to provide our clients with the support & connection they need during this crisis. Again, I cannot thank you all enough for your support, trust and dedication to our mission. We are only as strong as those who we surround ourselves with and I believe our community is strongest there is.
Zac Cesario, Executive Director