The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is looking at options to continue serving those in need after the community kitchen was shuttered due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
President of Alberta Friendship Centres Len Morissette says once they received word of the positive test Friday, they immediately closed the building and began telling staff to self-isolate. He says, now that the first step is complete, the work of trying to lift everyone back up must begin in earnest.
“With one case of COVID-19 it affects a community; now we need the community to [help] us cover our bases as we get on our feet. The vulnerable sector has it even harder because they don’t have access to certain needs.”
The joint project with The Salvation Army soup kitchen only kicked off last November. Morissette says the meals offered may the only nutrients their guests get in a day.
“Definitely difficult for them, and it would definitely be scary; that’s why programs like the community kitchen with the partnerships it has are very important for them and we have to keep it going,” he explains.
Morissette says the Friendship Centre’s positive case is the first in the system across the province. He adds it’s difficult to tell those who need their help that they are still in the planning stages, but, he remains optimistic about a solution being found quickly.
“That’s the tricky part, but, whoever is accessing the multiple services around our city, just that positive reinforcement, keep social distancing, and we will all get through this together.”
The case is one of three confirmed in Grande Prairie over the past week, along with one in the County. Ramona’s Pizza also confirmed one of its team members tested positive.