The Red Deer Food Bank has new rules for households that include recent travellers, or sickness.
Deputy director Alice Kolisnyk said clients are being screened to determine if any family members are sick, or if they have travelled outside the country in the past 60 days.
If so, they will collect their food from the back of the food bank’s warehouse to follow the two-metre social distance guideline put in place to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
She said so far, few clients have needed to make the adjustment, but more are expected.
“March is always the busiest time. By the time the winter bills and Christmas bills have come through, people are always quite strapped for cash.
“With the coronavirus and having people stay home, that will be even more prevalent, because people won’t be able to work,” Kolisnyk said.
“It’s going to be a challenging year, for sure.”
She said last May, the food bank assisted 620 households, or about 1,500 people.
“Our numbers were increasing back in January and February. We were expecting an increase in March, and this is going to throw a monkey wrench into the statistics.”
The food bank now closes at 4 p.m., instead of 5 p.m., to have more time for extra sanitizing and to stock shelves.
Kolisnyk said at the moment, there are enough food donations, but that is likely going to change in coming weeks. Recently, there’s been less perishable foods donated by grocery stores.
People are encouraged to donate nonperishable items at food bank bins at local grocery stores. They can also donate money at CanadaHelps.org.
Government has announced funding for social services to help the homeless and others. Kolisnyk said she was confident food banks were included.