Foodshare | Hunger is Big. Our Community is Bigger.

Partner Resources

Coronavirus Information:
(4/27/2020)

  • Please communicate ANY impact the virus is having on your program and/or your ability to get food to your clients, directly to Paula, Vinh or Yahaira. This information will be of great assistance as Foodshare considers implementing contingencies. We are also interested in your success stories, the moments of good things you are seeing in your community, whether they be photos or quotes, we would love to share them on our social media.
  • We encourage you to reduce ANY restrictions on the amount of food that you distribute to households as best you can, as we prepare for the possibility of an outbreak that may require certain households to quarantine.

  • General Operations +

    Here are a couple of things we would like to share with you as you make your plans for the near future:

    • Foodshare has no intention of closing. Continuing full operations of the distribution of food is our top priority. You may see some temporary changes in who is doing what, but our primary focus is to continue to ensure that food distribution in our network will continue.
    • If you make the difficult decision to close please do the following immediately:
      1. Let Vinh or Yahaira know immediately.
      2. Do your best to notify your clients in advance, referring them to other programs in the vicinity.
      3. Update your profile on www.211ct.org so that clients can find other pantries that are still open.
      4. Please know that once your program is closed, any pending orders you may have with Foodshare will be cancelled.
    • Mobile Foodshare continues to operate, however there may be some changes to the schedule. We will keep the schedule updated on our website.
    • Foodshare's President & CEO, Jason Jakubowski, has been asked to chair a statewide Food Working Group as part of the State’s COVID response. He will be working closely with other agencies as well as state and local governments as decisions about additional resources are made. We will share those updates with you as we learn of them.
    • The Feeding Our Families Tri-State Food Drive has been postponed. Date TBD.
    • As Foodshare gains new types of food donors (restaurants, universities, etc) we will be utilizing MealConnect to push this food out directly. If your program would like to receive food through Meal Connect please contact Don Anderson at danderson@foodshare.org or Gaye Sgamboti at gsgamboti@foodshare.org.
    • Major Challenges:
      1. Volunteer shortages, especially in programs with retired and/or older volunteers
      2. Buildings closings and / or restricting access (including churches, hospitals and municipal buildings)
      3. Department of Health enforcing closures: Please reach out to Foodshare's Partner Programs Manager, Paula Siebers, at psiebers@foodshare.org if the local Department of Health is advising you to cease operations or make impossible changes. If possible, please get a business card or name and contact information that you can forward to us.
  • Fees +
    • Handling Fees on product: Effective immediately Foodshare will waive all fees for your program now through June 30 in order to support your efforts to stay open. Special thanks to our generous donors who have made this added support possible. For those products in our inventory that already had a handling fee we have added a credit to your account to ensure that you will not be charged fees on these products either.
    • Delivery Fees: Foodshare will waive the delivery fee during this timeframe as well.
      • In order to qualify for a delivery, the order must weigh a minimum of 750 pounds
      • Your program must have off-street space for our truck (no deliveries on the street)
      • We will need a 2-hour window from the scheduled time of delivery before and after.
      • We have opened up additional slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays to accommodate these deliveries.
      • Contact Michelle Spitler at mspitler@foodshare.org or 860-856-4348 with questions or to schedule a delivery.
      • Please DO NOT assume you are approved for delivery. Your program must contact Michelle first to be pre-approved. Any non-approved “delivery” orders, or requests for delivery in the comments section will not be honored.
    • Eligibility for Waived Fees and Program Status: Your program is receiving these benefits because you have expressed a commitment to staying open. We understand that these are unpredictable times, and should your program decide to close, please notify Paula, Vinh or Yahaira immediately. If you end up closing, Foodshare may need to redistribute the product you have to a site that remains open in order to meet the growing needs of our community.
  • Product Availability +
    • Purchased Food: Foodshare is now purchasing food by the truckload and providing it to programs at no cost thanks to generous donations from the community.
      • For this product, you will only see what your program has been allocated to ensure that there is enough to go around to all open programs. No stockpiling please - only take your allocation if you will be able to safely store it all and quickly get it back out to people in need in your community.
    • MealConnect: Foodshare is using the electronic platform MealConnect to connect food donors with local programs in need of food. In order to enroll we require that your program be open at least once a week. For more information, contact Jane Pasini at jpasini@foodshare.org who can help your program get signed up.
    • COVID-19 Related Supplies: Due to the support of generous donors, we will soon have supplies related to distribution available to order online. Here is a list of things you will soon be able to add to your order: this change:
      • Paper and plastic bags, boxes, gloves
      • To-go containers and utensil sets (for Meal Programs only)
      • We have put out requests for homemade masks and they are coming in. Please contact Yahaira or Vinh to request masks and know that it may be a while until we are able to honor your request.
    • Orders are now being completed in 72 hours instead of 48 hours. With the the increased amount of food being ordered, Foodshare needs extra time to pick and prepare each order.
  • Government Commodities +
    • New TEFAP VERBAL ATTESTATION Process information has been sent and can be found in the TEFAP Information section below.
    • Foodshare has asked for expedited shipping on our TEFAP food and so we expect to see more items coming soon to the inventory.
    • The State of Connecticut has added new temporary flexibilities to the CTNAP program and we are now able to open up this product to more programs. We have a lot of CTNAP product right now so this should really help you see some great variety of product. You do not need to send in a CTNAP Agreement and you do not need to keep CTNAP statistics until further notice.
    • TEFAP Information: Effective immediately the USDA is allowing Connecticut residents to implement a verbal confirmation of TEFAP Eligibility. There are two major elements to this change:
      • The Department of Social Services has created the COVID-19 TEFAP Verbal Attestation Form in English and Spanish which must be provided to ALL TEFAP Participants. This temporarily replaces the current TEFAP Eligibility Forms, Renewal Forms and Tracking tools you have used in the past. All clients must verbally attest even if you already have an Eligibility Form on file for the household.
      • The Department of Social Services has created the COVID-19 TEFAP Participation Log that is to replace any other tracking or logs you are currently using. In an effort to maintain social distancing, the Participation Log should be kept by one staff / volunteer and each section should be completed for EVERY TEFAP recipient who verbally confirms eligibility.
      • If you distribute CT-NAP product, you should have received an email concerning relaxed policies related to collecting demographics from clients.
    • Please Note: Your order closes when is submitted. Requests to add product to submitted orders slows down our operations at a time when we are working very hard to distribute more food to more Programs. While you may miss out on a particular item or two, we are adding Purchased food as well as anticipating a large order of TEFAP in the coming days.
      • Please do NOT add product in the comment section. These requests will not be honored.
      • Please do NOT call anyone at Foodshare requesting that product be added to a submitted order.
  • Best Practices +

    Here are best practices some programs are using to overcome these challenges. Select the item(s) that could work for your program.

    Food Distribution Best Practices in English and Spanish

    • For Pantries +

    1. Distribute pre-packed bags or boxes (Foodshare may still have bags listed online).
    2. Use a menu option and have volunteers pack bags from the items selected.
    3. Move to an outdoor distribution model. Perhaps you have an area big enough for a “drive through model”, or perhaps a “car hop model” where bags are delivered to parked cars.
    4. Distribute as much food as you can per household. Please don’t hold inventory. Foodshare has more food coming in and anticipates greater amounts of donations and TEFAP. Do not be concerned about food shortages from us.
    5. If you do allow people in the pantry, take them in very small groups.
    6. Encourage only one person per household to enter the pantry.
    7. Have a volunteer (or even call on a client) to remind people to keep safe spaces between each other (3 feet is recommended).
    8. Have a volunteer (or even call on a client) to look for people who are coughing. Remove them from the line, prioritize getting a bag to them so they can leave.
    9. If you use a ticket system, do not re-use tickets. Discard after each use.
    10. TEFAP Specific:
      • The State has applied for an emergency waiver that may reduce some of the restrictions. We will let you know as soon as we hear something.
      • Remember that clients DO NOT have to sign a log. This was discontinued over a year ago. Programs simply need to know who received food at each distribution.
      • Until we receive word of a waiver, Renewals and Eligibility Forms are still required. However, depending on your current methods, you may opt to place a hold on Renewals and New Eligibility forms if you think it will reduce contact and community spread. In this case, please have some non-TEFAP food bags you can distribute to people.

    • For Meal Programs +

    1. Pack meals in “to go” containers (Foodshare has put in a request for these) and operate as a “drive through” or “car hop” model.
    2. Continue small congregate meals, but have “to go” meals ready for anyone showing any symptoms
    3. Move to an outdoor distribution model. Perhaps you have an area big enough for a “drive through model”, or perhaps a “car hop model” where bags are delivered to parked cars.
    4. During this time, Foodshare will also allow a Meal Program to order non-perishable food (and non-food) to prepare and distribute “to go bags”, essentially operating as a Pantry instead of (or in addition to) a Meal Program

    • For Backpack Programs +

    1. If you don’t already have the personal information for the families receiving backpacks, work with your Superintendent in order to continue a Backpack Program during school closures. One of our local town Superintendents provided addresses of enrolled families to the local Backpack Program.
    2. School staff may be willing to help distribute bags of non-perishable foods, possibly to the doorsteps. We know many teachers are concerned about their students and may be willing to volunteer in this capacity.
    3. Work with your PTO / PTA do help distribute backpacks.
    4. Using school bus routes and / or bus drivers may also be useful to make neighborhood drops or doorstep deliveries.
  • Recruit Volunteers +
    • Governor Ned Lamont is encouraging Connecticut residents to volunteer with homebound meal delivery, homeless shelters and food pantries / community kitchens through the Connecticut Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster system.
    • Recruit volunteers by registering here: https://forms.gle/c6VEBxBdhtmc4dpe9. You can describe the type and amount of volunteer work that your program needs.
  • Resources For Clients +
    • Connecticut United Ways COVID-19 Response Fund will help Connecticut residents who have lost their jobs, lost hours at work, or may be facing other financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, recipients will receive $200 to pay for basic needs. Additional funds may be available as donations allow. Connecticut United Ways anticipate that they will be able to initially serve 1,500 individuals across the state. Once a client has been pre-qualified through your program, funds can be loaded to the mobile wallet on the client’s smartphone. The funds can be used to pay for necessities, such as food, medicine, utilities, and gasoline. The electronic distribution of funds means that money can be given to those who need it most, without violating social distancing requirements.

Foodshare appreciates all that you are doing to continue your operations.


Foodshare's information for the general public:

FOODSHARE'S COVID-19 STATEMENT  ▶︎

Thank you for being a part of the 280 hunger relief partners in the Foodshare network. Together, we distributed more than 11 million meals of food to our neighbors last year. We are proud to serve beside you and hope that the resources below will be of assistance to you. Please let us know if there are other resources you would like to see available here.


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