SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland Food Cupboard, located on 130 Thadeus St., will continue to distribute goods in a “drive-thru” system to minimize contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dwayne Hopkins, executive director of the food cupboard, said that the food back is following the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as it continues operation. Recipients may wait in their cars as volunteers do the “shopping” for requested items inside.

“We’re taking what the CDC is suggesting, asking volunteers to wash hands, advising sick people to stay away,” said Hopkins. “We’ve got real good masks available for any volunteers who need to wear them. But in my estimation if any volunteer feels they need to wear them, they shouldn’t be there.”

Young and healthy volunteers are always welcome, he said, as many current volunteers are more elderly and could become susceptible to the coronavirus. Hopkins doesn’t want volunteers to feel unsafe.

Donations of nonperishable items are also welcome. “Canned vegetables and low-sodium stuff, gluten-free items. We’ve got a lot of immigrants so black beans and other common cultural items are great,” Hopkins said.

South Portland food Cupboard has added a coronavirus page to its website, which can be found here. A wish list of food and equipment is also located at http://southportlandfoodcupboard.org/.

Hopkins said that as community food banks are forced to close during this period of time, the food cupboard will “work hard” to stay open to serve the South Portland community. They have received assistance from the city of South Portland to continue operation, he said.

“At this point, it’s going to be hard for families financially, so it’s hard to ask for financial help,” said Hopkins. “We realize there are a lot of families in jeopardy — their jobs could be jeopardy. All I can say is we’re healthy at this time. We’re not in an emergency like other food cupboards are. I think traffic will increase as other ones close. But even just $10, $15, $20 helps.”

Those looking to donate food are asked to call ahead of time, said the South Portland Food Cupboard website. On Mondays through Fridays, from 7:30 a.m. to noon, the main number is 874-0379 or during after hours, call 318-3364.

People who are sick are asked not to visit the facility, said the website.

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