Letter from Brian Burton, President & CEO of Three Square
At Three Square, there is no higher priority than the safety of our volunteers, staff and the community we serve. Keeping a clean facility and following best practices for food safety are part of our culture. Due to COVID-19, we are taking extra precautions, including increased cleaning and sanitizing of our facility. We are following the guidance of the CDC, local and state health agencies. Feeding America is also offering guidance specific to food banks.
As this situation unfolds, the need for food assistance in our community persists, and could increase dramatically. What we can take away from the spread of the Coronavirus worldwide is this: it is coming to us, and it’s coming at an exponential speed – gradually at first, and then suddenly.
At this time, volunteer sessions are planned to run as scheduled. We are asking volunteers and staff who have experienced any symptoms of illness or have traveled to high-risk countries within the last 14 days to stay home. However, the continued support of all healthy staff and volunteers is critically important to Three Square’s ability to operate at full throttle, including serving 16,000 after-school meals to food-insecure children daily. If you are able to safely volunteer, please do.
We are actively working with State partners to lift restrictions on some meal programs, including those serving seniors. We are in touch with other local partners and monitoring new developments closely. Perhaps the biggest question today is, What happens if schools within the Clark County School District are closed? Many, if not most, of the meals we provide to food-insecure children are required to be served at school sites. If the federal government does not waive such requirements, it is likely we would have to make up the resulting meal gap through private donations of emergency food and cash.
Which is why, effective immediately, Three Square is establishing a Coronavirus Emergency Food Fund, which will hold donations in reserve should there be a need for more special responses to serve those affected by quarantines or school closures. We have to ensure we are ready to help however we can, and that we are nimble in our daily response to the extraordinary events now facing us.
For more information on how you can volunteer or donate to the Coronavirus Emergency Food Fund, please visit us at www.threesquare.org or call us at (702) 644-FOOD (3663).