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Seattle food banks see fewer volunteers as coronavirus spreads

caption: Cans of food at the Ballard Food Bank.
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Cans of food at the Ballard Food Bank.
Ruby de Luna / KUOW

Many people in the Seattle area are taking health officials’ advice to stay home.

The growing absenteeism is affecting local food banks. Some food banks have seen volunteers cancelling as a precaution.

Like many non-profits, food banks rely on volunteers to help out. At Ballard Food Bank, many of them are seniors.

“Many of them volunteer weekly for us," Executive Director Jen Muzia said. "They’re definitely concerned for their health and their well-being and we are as well for them.”

Meanwhile, staff are taking steps to protect clients who are also vulnerable by washing their hands and disinfecting surfaces.

Muzia says given the recent rush to supermarkets, food donations and recovery donations have been down.

Other food banks like Food Lifeline and the University District food bank have also seen volunteers cancel. So far that hasn’t affected their operations in general. But if needed, they will prepare to-go bags for clients if the situation changes.

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