PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philabundance, Delaware Valley's largest hunger relief organization, says it will close its doors for a few days after a staff member came into contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus.
"Philabundance will be closed and operations cease on Thursday, March 26 through Saturday, March 28 out of an abundance of caution for its staff, volunteers and the public. At this time, no staff have tested positive for Coronavirus or suspect that they might have it," a statement to 6abc read.
The nonprofit says a staff member informed administration on Wednesday.
According to Philabundance, the member does not have symptoms of the virus and is in self-quarantine.
The same day a second employee told Philabundance administration that someone in their household had a fever. This employee, according to nonprofit, also exhibited no symptoms and is in self-quarantine.
Both warehouses, including the South Philadelphia location on Galloway Street and the North Philadelphia location on Berks Street, will be closed for two days to undergo a specialized cleaning regimen, Philabundance says.
"We anticipate re-opening on Monday, March 30 and resuming emergency food distributions immediately," Philabundance says.
Officials say the closure will cause a delay in food delivery.
During its temporary closure, Philabundance has alternate ways those dealing with food insecurity can find help:
- Visiting WhyHunger.org / or calling 1-800-5HUNGRY or 1-800-548-6479. This hotline and website can help people find food in their area including open pantry and food distribution sites. If people call and leave a message, the Why Hunger team will return their calls.
- Those in need can also reach out to Auntbertha.com
- The City of Philadelphia has a list where children can find free meals through the School Board and the Mayor's Office
Philabundance says it will continue to update its Philabundance.org/covid19/
site for coronavirus-related information and for ways people can help and get involved during this pandemic.
In recent days, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, celebrities have been raising money and awareness for Philabundance, including the stars of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz and his wife U.S. women's national soccer team's Julie Ertz.
Philabundance says it serves 90,000 people each week who are at risk of hunger, 30% of whom are children and 16% are seniors. Other people Philabundance serves include the working class, college students and single parents.
Officials say the number is steadily increasing due to COVID-19, with some agencies reporting 50-plus more clients than average.
On Tuesday, local agency representatives came by Philabundance to pick up fresh food and produce to give to clients across the area. Philabundance officials say all staff, agencies and volunteers "adhered to CDC guidelines during this weekly pick-up including but not limited to social distancing, wearing gloves, and washing/sanitizing hands."
Of its 350 agency network, the nonprofit says, nearly 70 have closed their doors due to COVID-19. It says many agencies are run by volunteers and senior citizens who are at higher risk of contracting the virus.
"We're fully confident in Philabundance and the steps they are taking to mitigate this issue. The statewide network is here to support them and get them back on their feet as soon as possible. We're working together to ensure they are able to provide food to their community," Executive Director of Feeding Pennsylvania Jane Clements-Smith said.