The United Samaritans Foundation’s Daily Bread lunch trucks will once again be making their rounds throughout the county, feeding those in need following a 14-day hiatus due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
USF shut down all of its operations — including the nonprofit’s countywide lunch program that feeds approximately 1,700 people daily — on Dec. 21 after one employee tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, all employees were tested and seven in total were positive for the virus, according to USF Executive Director Linda Murphy-Julien.
USF is now back in action following a 14-day shutdown to stop the spread of the virus between employees and a thorough cleaning of facilities, according to Murphy-Julien.
And, most importantly, according to the executive director, “full recovery is on the horizon for everyone.”
The lunch trucks, which make 50 stops throughout 11 different communities and serve between 1,500 and 1,800 lunches Monday through Friday, were back in service on Wednesday. Murphy-Julien said USF expects to resume its senior meal program by Thursday. Other services won’t be up and running until next week at the earliest.
Volunteers who used to staff the clothes closet were redirected help in the kitchen or warehouse.
“Getting enough food is always an issue,” said Murphy-Julien. “Right now is all about getting the trucks back out there.”
The clothes closet is expected to reopen in the next few weeks with those seeking items filling out a needs card and then handing it to a volunteer who will find the items and be able to distribute them within an hour or two. Murphy-Julien said they needed to rethink how to get clothes to people in need while maintaining social distancing guidelines with limited staffing available.
Those seeking to help, are encouraged to volunteer to make lunches or donate cash for the purchase of food. Murphy-Julien said the organization doesn’t have the resources at this time to accept and manage clothes or other nonfood donations.
To learn more about USF, visit unitedsamaritans.org or call 668-4853.