During this uncertain time of layoffs, furloughs, delayed paychecks, empty grocery store shelves, and even fears of home eviction, Community Action Services and Food Bank, an agency that serves the needy populations of Utah, Wasatch, and Summit counties, remains open and available during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist all those families in crisis.

“We have food ready to be distributed, but we are not seeing the influx of people we believe are in need. We are prepared to serve now,” said CASFB Executive Director Karen McCandless. “With one week of school closures behind us, with more coming, and with many adults being laid off or forced to stay home because they can’t afford childcare, we believe many people are struggling to feed their families. Community Action Services and Food Bank is here to help. You just need to come.”

CASFB is available to provide our most in-need populations with food and emergency housing assistance. Some services, however, have been temporarily discontinued.

Food Boxes
Beginning immediately and continuing until May 15, CASFB will deliver premade food boxes to clients instead of inviting them to walk through the pantry to select items. Clients seeking food assistance will now check in with an employee at the front counter for the intake process. They will then be asked to return to their vehicles to await notification via phone call or email that their food box is ready. They can then drive up to the pantry entrance and pick it up. Food boxes are currently being premade for one-, two-, three-, and four-person households.

“The biggest change during this time will be how we distribute food,” McCandless said. “This new system will be distressing for some, but because of the uniqueness of this situation, we need to alter our processes to ensure we serve as many people as possible.”

While the food pantry is currently experiencing a lull in clients, that is expected to change within the coming weeks as furloughed, self-isolated, or quarantined workers don’t receive paychecks. CASFB employees and volunteers are preparing now for that expected surge in client needs.

Emergency Housing Assistance
While the nation awaits updates of a government stimulus program, there remain many laid-off or furloughed people who are now desperately trying to make their monthly rent payment.

CASFB has a program designed just for these dire circumstances. For those who qualify, emergency housing assistance is possible. Caseworkers are available to meet with clients over the phone or via email to walk them through options and eligibility. To learn if you qualify, reach out to CASFB at (801) 373-8200 or visit our Provo location at 815 S. Freedom Blvd.

Other Agency Changes
During this time of social distancing, Community Action Services and Food Bank will alter some services, retain others, and continue to protect everyone working at and served by the agency in the following ways:
● The Circles initiative has been suspended for the immediate future.
● Agency hours will remain at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.
● Employees will be encouraged to work from home as much as possible.
● Client interaction will be minimized as much as possible.
● Stringent safety and disinfecting procedures, long adhered to, will continue, including frequent handwashing, sanitizing of all surfaces and furniture between clients, and requiring that volunteers wear gloves.

Continue to monitor our website and Facebook page for updates during this pandemic. As always, we look forward to serving the less fortunate in Utah, Summit, and Wasatch counties. If you are interested in volunteering or want more information on any of our programs, please call (801) 373-8200 or visit communityactionprovo.org.