St. Irenaeus Food Pantry Volunteers Still at Work During COVID-19 Pandemic

Karen Hoogland
Karen Hoogland, Business Manager at St. Irenaeus Church in Park Forest. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The most vulnerable among us still hunger, now forced into the social isolation experience we all share. The volunteers at the St. Irenaeus Food Pantry are still at work to ensure people are fed. Organizers released a statement outlining protocol changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen Hoogland, Business Manager at St. Irenaeus, sent eNews Park Forest the following:

The St. Irenaeus/Catholic Charities Food Pantry is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. We are committed to continuing to provide food for our community.

Effective March 21, 2020, per the direction of our managing partners, the following changes have been made to pantry operations to help keep clients and volunteers safe.

  1. All pantry clients must stay in their vehicles. Pantry staff will place food allotments into the vehicle.
  2. Pantry clients who do not have a personal vehicle are asked to line up at the door, observing the 10-foot social distancing radius at all times. Pantry Staff will bring food out to the stairs at the normal entrance.
  3. It does not matter what time you arrive at the Pantry. During this time, we are not able to recognize first-come first-serve in any way. Your place in line will not be recognized in any way, shape or form. Food allotments will be distributed based on nearest the entrance working outward. Once you receive your food allotment we ask that you leave the premises.
  4. Our client-choice food pantry will temporarily convert to a pre-bagged pantry distribution. This process will not take into account family size and each client will receive the same amount of food. With respect to perishables and extra food items, client turnout and available stock will dictate as the pantry day progresses.
  5. While this new process goes against our mission as a client-choice pantry, the safety, well-being, and health of our clients and volunteers is our number one priority.
  6. There will be no use of public restrooms at this time.

COVI D-19 has forced us to change our procedures for the foreseeable future. Our goal is to eventually return to being a 100% client-choice pantry.

The situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing. Please check for updated information on the parish website www.stirenaeus.com, Facebook page www.facebook.com/saintirenaeus and Twitter page www.twitter.com/st_irenaeus.

Thank you for your understanding and patience in these trying times.