By Sue Ann Rybak

Stephanie Arck-Baynes, a spokesperson for Philabundance, the largest hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley, said Philabundance closed on March 26 and March 27 “out of an abundance of caution for its staff, volunteers and the public.”  

A statement on Philabundance’s website read: “Wednesday, March 25, a staff member informed administration about having come into contact with someone 11 days ago who has now tested positive for Coronavirus; the staff member has no symptoms of the virus and has placed themselves under quarantine. The same day, a second employee informed administration that someone in their household has a fever. This staff member has exhibited no symptoms and has also placed themselves under quarantine.”

In an interview on Friday afternoon with the Chestnut Hill Local, Arck-Baynes said no staff have tested positive for coronavirus or suspect that they may have it.

While the closure will cause food delay, it will allow for both of the organization’s warehouses to receive a specialized cleaning regimen, she said.  Philabundance anticipates re-opening on March 30 and resuming emergency food distributions immediately.

When asked if Philabundance would be changing any of their policies, she replied, “It [COVID-19] is a constantly evolving situation that will require us to reevaluate our operations each day based on the information that we receive that day to ensure that we can, as best as possible, protect the health and safety of our volunteers, our staff and donors while at the same time helping those in need.”