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May 26, 2020

Jamie Taylor/River News The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is continuing to make food available to those in need. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, some modifications have been made to the distribution process.
Jamie Taylor/River News

The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is continuing to make food available to those in need. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, some modifications have been made to the distribution process.
3/21/2020 7:30:00 AM
Rhinelander Area Food Pantry working hard to adapt to coronavirus; food distribution continues

The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is continuing to distribute food to those in need while protecting the health of customers and volunteers.

"The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry is firmly committed to the health and safety of our customers and volunteers while still serving our community," RAFP executive director Guy Hansen said in a press release. "At this time, RAFP has an adequate inventory of food, but has modified the procedures for customers to receive it. First, they can continue to come to the pantry and receive food as they have been, however it will now be individually rather than in large groups. Customers are asked to stay in their cars in the parking lot. Numbers will be drawn, and each car will receive a number that will then allow those customers to enter the Food Pantry building alone, in that order, but one at a time. No more than 6 - 7 customers may be in the Pantry itself at any one time. They do ask that as a customer or volunteer, if they are ill or have someone in their house who is ill, to please not come in the Pantry building."

A second option is for the customers to select food items they want from a list provided by RAFP and they can then pick up their order at a designated time. Hansen also noted that RAFP is working with the Rhinelander school district to arrange delivery of the Weekend Food For Kids food packs that provide "kid friendly" food items to help supply meals for children in need during the weekend periods.

"This is certainly a difficult time for the food pantry, as it is for everyone," Hansen noted.

Expecting this concern will exist for some time, Hansen announced that the Spring Salad Bowl Event, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Holiday Acres, has been canceled.

"So as the demand for food continues, or may very well increase, the funding that normally comes from the Salad Bowl event will no longer be available," the release notes.

In that regard, Hansen wants to remind everyone that the Annual Spring Challenge is still ongoing, where during the months of March and April, all donations, non-perishable food or cash, are matched in part by an anonymous donor. A number of businesses, organizations and individuals take advantage of this and donate at this time of the year to get that extra boost to their donation, he noted.

Also, out of an abundance of caution, all food items donated to RAFP will now be set aside for a minimum of two days before being handled by volunteers, and held for another three days before stocking, in an effort to allow time for any germs or contamination to subside. Volunteers will continue to wear protective gloves as well.

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