NorthWest Family Foods, 1-24-2019

A volunteer at NorthWest Family Foods carts boxes of food between shelves during a food drop off in early 2019.

ST. ALBANS CITY – The NorthWest Family Foods (NWFF) is asking that donors bring food for the St. Albans food shelf on either Tuesday or Thursday, days that, according to the food shelf, represented “the best social distancing time period.”

“Thank you for your patience regarding the ever-changing policies,” NWFF wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday morning. “Still, we need your help. The amount of staff here is challenged by meeting the demands of our clients.”

In an interview with the Messenger late last week, NWFF coordinator Toni Auriemma said that the food shelf has had to change procedures more than once as it tries to meet both social distancing mandates for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and an expected increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic inspires layoffs.

“How do we navigate this?” she said. “I don’t know that anybody really has an answer yet.”

At the time, she suggested the best foods to donate to the shelf were nonperishable staples like canned foods and meats, cereals and peanut butter that could last users of the food shelf through longer periods of social distancing or the two-week self-isolation that could come with a diagnosis of COVID-19.

A social media post shared by the food shelf last week echoed those requests, saying “cereals, canned beef stews, soup, canned chicken (or any canned meat), sauce [and] peanut butter are needed.”

NWFF previously shared updated practices for picking up food at the St. Albans food shelf, creating an outdoor distribution near its loading dock where a single family at a time can pick up a pre-packaged bag of groceries with enough distance between individuals to limit the possible spread of COVID-19.

The food shelf also changed its hours earlier this week, writing Monday that, until further notice, food would be available for pickup on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

“The NWFF staff is here to support the mission and do what we can for our fellow citizens,” the food shelf wrote Tuesday on Facebook. “For as long as we can.”

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