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Beverly Bootstraps announces program updates in response to COVID-19

BEVERLY — As the current coronavirus crisis continues to unfold and evolve, officials at Beverly Bootstraps have been working to adapt the organization’s programs to create an environment that promotes the health and safety of clients, staff and volunteers.

Providing food to those in need in the community is a critical part of Beverly Bootstraps’ mission and the new measures introduced will allow for the organization to solely focus on delivering food during this challenging time.

Program updates and precautions

– The thrift shop is closed until April 6

– The tax prep program has been suspended until further notice

– All adult and youth education is suspended until further notice

– Case management services will only be available through Bootstraps’ online client inquiry form and phone calls

– A new food pantry model (see below) has been introduced

– All other operations will be on hold or conducted remotely

In addition to the above, building access has been restricted to only staff and volunteers working morning/mid-day or late afternoon shift/evening shifts, and clients in need of food. Both shifts of workers will be kept separate from each other and there will not be any crossover of staff between the two groups. This is being done so that, if there is any exposure during a shift, another team will be able to continue food delivery as long as possible.

Staff and volunteers on each shift will be continuously and thoroughly wiping down surfaces and door handles throughout the facility.

There will also be a team working remotely that includes leadership members who will continue to make strategic decisions and carry work forward should any of the onsite teams become exposed or ill during this time.

Volunteers and visitors who have traveled outside of the United States in the last 14 days, or who have been in close contact with someone who has or may have contracted COVID-19, should refrain from visiting the Bootstraps building for at least two weeks.

“Our entire leadership team is having a daily Zoom meeting to discuss our continued response to this health crisis and to make adjustments to our operations as needed,” Heather Johnston, director of donor relations, shared in a statement. “We continue to work with key community stakeholders who are involved in distributing food to those in need. These conversations will lead us to increase the support infrastructure needed to continue to provide food to our community.”

New food pantry model

Prepared bags of food will be given to individuals or families in need based on family size. Each pantry client will receive two bags of food; one perishable and one non-perishable.

“By going to this model, clients will spend less time in the building and will not be touching any of the food as they had in the shopping model that had been in place prior,” according to the statement from Beverly Bootstraps. “We have extended our daily food pantry hours in an effort to keep people moving through our space and eliminate congregating in the lobby.”

New food pantry clients will complete an abbreviated intake form, eliminating the need for new clients to come earlier than distribution times and avoid meeting with a staff member in a one-on-one meeting.

“We have a strong existing relationship with the Greater Boston Food Bank and will continue to work with them as they will be our main source of food during this time,” the statement read.

Existing food pantry clients are encouraged to bring their reusable bags. Food will be given out in paper bags, but clients may want to reinforce the paper bags with the stronger reusable bags they typically use when visiting the food pantry.

New hours have also been implemented at Beverly Bootstraps. They are as follows:

Monday, Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday: 2 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How to help

At this time, the best way for community members to help Beverly Bootstraps is to consider making a donation or even consider joining the Circle of Hope. Those who become recurring monthly donors will keep their support going, no matter how long this crisis lasts.

“We are asking the community to not bring us food or supplies at this time, given that we are able to secure food through our strong partnership with Greater Boston Food Bank,” the statement read. “In the spirit of social distancing, we would like to limit the number of people coming to the building and we encourage the community to follow all local, state and federal guidelines in regards to interacting with others.”

For more information and to donate, visit www.beverlybootstraps.org.