An important note to our agencies: For everyone’s protection – mandatory face protection is required when visiting the FoodBank.
As the Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) monitors ongoing developments around the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to provide our agency partner network with important resources and to answer some of your most frequently asked questions. The economic impact of this crisis will be staggering, and continued support for those we serve is needed now more than ever. With your help, CFBNJ is working to ensure that our neighbors who were previously struggling continue to have access to nutritious food and to meet the additional need that is likely to arise due to the virus.
CFBNJ is actively working with local, state and federal partners to ensure the continued support that we know our Network will need, particularly given that according to a recently released Monmouth University poll, roughly 1 in 3 Americans has felt economic pain due to loss of income as a result of COVID-19, and low-income households have been hit hardest.
Monitor the Current State of COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control has been identified as the trusted source for information on the Coronavirus in the United States. Recommendations may change rapidly, and State or Local Public Health Department mandates will take precedent. We encourage regular monitoring of these sources.
Assess Impact On Your Ability to Operate and Resources Needed
Below is a list of the questions and concerns that CFBNJ has received from the Network. We remain committed to answering individual questions as they arise and encourage review of the below, which can assist you during this pandemic.
Q: What are the recommendations to best support my neighbors in need?
- Prioritize food distribution efforts to ensure the continuity of service.Maintaining your efforts today is as important, if not more, as it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Remove quantity limits and encourage the neighbors and families you serve to take more than they might need at the moment to store for later use.
- Consider expanding operating hours to the extent possible to provide people with access to more food ahead of any potential disruptions.
- Pre-bag or pre-box food resources for ease of distribution.
- Hold food distributions outdoors or via a drop-and-go scenario to lessen the number of people gathering for services on-site.
Q: Is CFBNJ able to provide my Agency with hand sanitizer or gloves?
- National supplies of these items are currently very low, so we are currently unable to provide these items at this time.We are working with our industry partners to procure more, as we know they are greatly needed.
- Following health guidance to frequently wash hands with soap and water is highly encouraged.
Q: Do I still need to collect client signatures?
- NJ’s SFPP and TEFAP Requirements have approved Local Distributing Agencies waiving the collection of signatures during the current State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency. Please continue to collect total people served.
- CFBNJ is actively continuing working with our State and Federal partners regarding signature requirements for other programs to create consistent flexibility during this COVID-19 period. We will provide updates to these and other changes to requirements as soon as they become available.
Q: Is my Agency considered an essential businesses during COVID-19?
- CFBNJ and you, our Network of emergency feeding programs are considered essential businesses under Governor Murphy’s Statewide Stay at Home Order. CFBNJ strongly recommends traveling with any identification you may have indicating your agency name and location during this period of time.
- When traveling to CFBNJ to pick-up any food orders, we encourage you to have a copy of your agency order.
Q: Am I allowed inside the CFBNJ building during onsite pick-up?
- Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, CFBNJ transitioned the pick-up of all orders to occur outside, in an effort to limit the number of individuals entering the building and reduce pick-up time. We ask that during COVID-19 you do not anticipate coming into the building. We thank you for your understanding during this period of time.
Q: Has availability of food resources and emergency food boxes changed?
- CFBNJ has been working diligently to ensure we are able to continue to provide you with more food as needed.
- Agency Express – We encourage you to regularly visit our Agency Express system to see the available product posted. We will also begin featuring notes regarding the forecast of what we anticipate receiving.
- Don’t see something that you need? Email us at email@example.com with your food requests and we will work to see if we can coordinate a future order with you!
- Emergency Food Boxes – We are currently directing distribution of boxes to particularly vulnerable populations and communities heavily impacted by COVID-19. Distribution of boxes is also being organized at the county-level.
Q: Are there any changes to agency fees during COVID-19?
- CFBNJ understands the great demand that is being placed on our Network at this time. Effective immediately all agency delivery fees, shared maintenance fees, and cost of COOP product are being suspended through June 30th.
- For any delivery fees incurred in March, CFBNJ will be providing a retroactive credit back.
- We are also suspending payments from Partner Agencies on any outstanding balance through June 30th. During this time, we will continue to send statements so that you can review your agency distributions. Though we are suspending payments, we will continue to apply any payments received to your account balance.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Preparing for a rapidly changing environment is critical at this period of time. Please inform CFBNJ of any changes to your normal operations. It is our goal to ensure that we can strategize together to keep vulnerable individuals and communities fed. We have activated a central email inbox that our Network of Partner Agencies are encouraged to utilize at this time –firstname.lastname@example.org. This inbox will be monitored daily.Please include your Agency ID in the subject.
Prevention Remains Key
CFBNJ recommends that all volunteers and staff take the following precautions:
- Frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or coughing/sneezing into the elbow
- Frequently wiping down doorknobs, desks and other surface areas with disinfectant on a regular basis
- Deep cleaning and sanitizing common areas, particularly distribution centers in food distribution centers/hubs
- Asking volunteers and staff to remain home if they show any signs of illness
- Asking anyone who has been traveling internationally through a country that has been designated with a Level 2 or 3 travel notice (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea) to refrain from coming to volunteer or work for at least 14 days upon your return