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Utah Food Bank

Utah Food Bank says COVID-19 has scared away volunteers

By Kelli Pierce, KSL Newsradio | Posted - Mar. 14, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Utah Food Bank says it is in desperate need of volunteers, as church groups and companies are canceling due to fear of COVID-19.

President and CEO Ginette Bott said they lost 150 volunteers Thursday because COVID-19 is scaring them away.

“So many of the (organizations) that come to help us: youth groups in large numbers, corporate teams who were coming with multiple employees… A lot of those activities through businesses and religious entities have been canceled,” Bott says.

But Bott says volunteering at the Utah Food Bank is safe.

“We’re doing the things everyone is being asked to do: the handwashing, we’re doing the hand sanitizer as well. We’re giving gloves to all of our volunteers,” Bott said.

She also worries about the increasing need at the food bank. The people they serve want to stock up in case COVID-19 becomes more serious.

Bott says it’s similar to the panic buying people have been doing at the grocery stores.

“Same thing is going to be happening at pantries. People are going to be coming to those entities asking for more product, asking for enough for an extended period of time,” Bott says.

And the Utah Food Bank supplies many smaller pantries.

People who want to volunteer can show up to the Utah Food Bank at any time during normal business hours.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources
  • To help mitigate infectious transmission of COVID-19, health care officials advise anyone who thinks they might have the virus to first call their doctor before going to a hospital
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Cough or sneeze in your elbow or a tissue
Risk and symptoms
  • You could be at risk of having COVID-19 if you’ve recently traveled to mainland China, South Korea or, to a lesser extent, Japan, Italy and Iran
  • Infected patients typically have a fever, cough and shortness of breath
Kelli Pierce

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