From the smallest of neighborhoods to the largest of cities, people are looking for ways to help one another through the COVID-19 crisis.
Many might be wondering about the local food bank and what the needs are currently. Justin Turton said COVID-19 presents obstacles in getting supplies distributed. “Social distancing, self-isolation, and clients’ inability to travel are all barriers to disperse food,” he indicated. But the board is looking to address these issues, keeping the health of volunteers and clients as the first priority while meeting food needs.
“While we predict an increase in demand for the services of the food bank, how we are going to deal with that increase is still unknown,” Turton remarked. “If trends continue, we may also encounter difficulties with providing clients with certain food items because of shortages in the local grocery store.” Further compounding access to resources is that for the time being the food bank is unable to accept food donations from people’s homes so as not to introduce any items to their supplies that may have possibility come in contact with the virus. However, there is still an important way for Outlook residents to support the vital work of the food bank. “As an alternative,” Turton encouraged, “if anyone would like to make a donation, we would appreciate monetary donations to assist with purchasing grocery and other personal care items in the weeks to come.”
Donations to the food bank can be mailed to Box 1467, Outlook, SK S0L 2N0 or by e-transfer to email@example.com
A spokesperson for Outlook and District Volunteer Services says their work within the community is continuing, albeit in a modified manner. Bernie Doepker, Director of Volunteer Services for the Saskatchewan Health Authority said, “In every circumstance, we are following the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Health Emergency Operations Center and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer’s precautions and procedures. We discontinued non-essential volunteer programs, and with the programs continuing we have asked all of the over (age) 65 volunteers to step back to minimize risk and protect themselves.”
Meals on Wheels is continuing in Outlook, but utilizing only those volunteers who are under the age of 65. Some SHA staff, whose work has been affected by services being slowed down in preparation for increased demand from COVID-19, are also helping to get meals delivered.
With people looking for ways to lend a hand during this time, Doepker indicated all local volunteer services offices are accepting contact from people willing to help build a volunteer work force. He said, “As requests come to Volunteer Services for assistance we will be reaching out to the province of Saskatchewan.” To volunteer locally people can call Leah Larson at 306-867-5053 or email Leah.Larson@saskhealthauthority.ca
Doepker encourages everyone to read and review new information released by the Saskatchewan government and health authority. “As you read and review updated information from the province,” he urged, “please follow all and stay informed. Stay safe.”