Coronavirus in Kitchener: Volunteers coordinate amid COVID-19, social distancing to feed thousands in Kitchener

kitchener (WPVI) – Volunteers who feed thousands of families in Kitchener twice a week are adapting to major changes, including working in smaller teams due to social distancing.

The boxes of groceries roll through the Philabundance warehouses every week to feed families in need during this critical time. It requires massive coordination efforts between the city, the Share Food program and Philabundance every week.

“This collaboration with logistics and groceries has allowed us to open 40 separate locations across Kitchener twice a week, where people can get groceries for free,” said Samantha Retamar, spokeswoman for Philabundance.

On Mondays they give out non-perishable goods and on Thursdays they distribute products. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, Philabundance wants to offer nutritious foods that last a little longer.

“Apples, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage,” said Retamar.

She said many companies are donating the food from around the world that would normally go to restaurants that are now down.

“So many people have come and raised a voice that said, ‘Hey, there’s no place for hunger here, especially during a pandemic,'” Retamar said.

The main goal is to get everything packed in the warehouse on time, but right now Philabundance has to work with half of the volunteers.

“We had to reduce our volunteer shifts to 20 people to make sure everyone has social distance while they do their jobs,” Retamar said.

Retamar said Philabundance always accepts monetary donations that allow the organization to buy groceries in bulk.

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