Yellowknife Food Rescue is reopening, a week after the coronavirus pandemic forced the charity to suspend its operations.
The group’s president, Lesley Allen, told Cabin Radio its members had rushed to devise a new plan that would let volunteers keep their distance while resuming resupply trips to non-profits.
“Everybody – everybody from the food stores to the volunteers to the board – wanted to get back and be open as soon as possible,” Allen said.
Operations will formally resume on Monday, April 6, with a couple of supply runs taking place later this week.
Early last week, the group halted its work while it tried to find a way to obey recommendations designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Allen said keeping apart in the organization’s comparatively small quonset tent was impossible with up to eight or nine people helping out on any given day.
“We streamlined the operation so there is only one site manager there at a time, then a driver and a helper who will go in different vehicles,” Allen explained.
“We’re streamlining what we’re taking as well. We’re trying to keep it small, and with the fewest number of people, but still maintain some service.”
Yellowknife Food Rescue takes products from local grocery stores that have packaging defects or are approaching their best-before dates, then redistributes the supplies to non-profits.
For the time being, the new, slimmed-down team will focus on priority organizations like the Yellowknife Women’s Centre and Salvation Army.
Allen said a key concern was ensuring volunteers are protected.
“The majority of our volunteers are seniors so we really had to think about that,” she said, acknowledging seniors are considered an at-risk group during the pandemic.
“We were closed just long enough to make sure we were following the GNWT guidelines.
“We are trying to keep everybody safe.”