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Hampden Location of Maine Food Bank Temporarily Suspends Operations After Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

HAMPDEN, Maine – The Hampden location of Good Shepherd Food Bank will be temporarily suspending operations today after an employee there tested positive for coronavirus. The employee was last onsite Sept. 1, 2020. The Auburn location of the Food Bank remains fully operational.

The limited number of employees and volunteers who may have been exposed have been contacted.

“The health and safety of our employees and community is our top priority. We are taking a more aggressive approach than required and necessary, but we think it’s the appropriate response for this specific situation due to the nature of the employee’s role,” stated Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “As front-line responders in the midst of a global pandemic, it was never a question of ‘if’ the Food Bank staff would be directly impacted, but ‘when.’ With an abundance of caution, the Food Bank is temporarily suspending operations at our Hampden location for two days to conduct a deep clean.”

Good Shepherd Food Bank’s priority of health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is to continue to provide emergency assistance for the state of Maine, which is currently experiencing a significant increase in demand. In accordance with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the Food Bank has been actively monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and neighbors as we continue to serve our community during this critical time.

“We will continue our proactive health safety measures, such as wearing face masks, social distancing, and a self-screening check in app, which all employees are asked to fill out each workday,” said Miale. “We are rapidly assessing the impact of temporarily suspending operations in Hampden and working on solutions to continue to ensure that our partners receive the food they need to support Mainers struggling with hunger, all while continuing to follow CDC guidelines and safety procedures.”

From the onset of the pandemic, the Food Bank has increased its food distribution statewide and remained fully operational, servicing a network of over 500 partner agencies, which includes food pantries, meal sites, school partners and health care centers. In the last year, the Food Bank distributed 29.3 million meals—four million more than the prior year.

“Our thoughts are with our staff member, that person’s family and with all of the front-line responders who are continuing to provide access to food during this critical time. We wish our team member a speedy recovery,” stated Miale.

Partner agencies scheduled for pickups at the Hampden facility on Sept. 8 and 9 have been notified and normal operations will resume on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, after the facility will have received a deep clean. Most deliveries from Hampden will be completed according to schedule, but if delivery is impacted in any way, the Food Bank’s Customer Service team will contact the partner agency directly. According to the CDC, coronaviruses are generally spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets and there is no current evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 through fresh and prepared food. Due to the poor survivability of these viruses on surfaces, there is very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.

The Auburn location of Good Shepherd Food Bank, where the majority of its front-line employees are based, is unaffected at this time and remains fully operational.