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One way to help individuals and families during the pandemic is donating to a local charity or organization. Below are some tips for community members, charities, and organizations for safely preparing and distributing donations.

Guidance for Community Members

How to prepare items for donation

  • Contact the charity or organization to learn what items are in need or not being accepted.
  • Try to choose items that come in packaging, or have hard/non-permeable surfaces (such as plastic) that are easy to clean and disinfect.
  • Wash or sanitize hands before handling donation items.
  • Avoid participating in gift donating if feeling ill.

If you are the recipient of a donated item

  • Wash or sanitize hands after handling donated items.
  • Wash any clothing items before wearing.
  • Toys with hard surfaces should be cleaned with a mixture of soap and water and soft surface toys should be washed if possible.

Guidance for Organizers, Employees, and Volunteers of Charities and Organizations

  • Determine the capacity of volunteers and employees working in a space to ensure there will be enough room to physically distance individuals 6 feet or 2 metres from each other.
  • Require all volunteers, employees, and members of the public to wear a mask or face covering prior to entering the building.
  • Print and post clearly visible floor markings and wall signage promoting:
    • physical distancing between individuals,
    • frequent hand washing,
    • proper wearing of face masks, and
    • symptom screening
  • Signage can be ordered or downloaded:
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations with alcohol-based sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol) at entrances and exits, and throughout the facility for ease of access.
  • Ensure that volunteers and employees sanitize hands upon entering and before exiting.
  • Keep a daily record including the dates and times of shifts, and the names of employees and volunteers working. This will assist with contact tracing if needed.
  • Ask that all individuals (including staff and volunteers) complete the online COVID-19 Self-Assessment screening tool from the Ontario Ministry of Health, each day before they enter the building and/or before their scheduled shift, and follow the guidance for self-isolation or testing as provided.
  • Train all employees and volunteers on all protocols and procedures prior to their first shift.
  • Arrange for drive thru or curbside receiving of items if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as collection tables, and door handles at least once per day with an approved disinfectant. Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. Assign someone at each shift to take on this role. Review the Cleaning Disinfection for Public Settings document for more information.
  • Do not remove new, donated items from the original packaging.
  • Arrange for drive thru or curbside pick-up of items if possible. Ask clients to open their trunk and remain in their vehicle.
  • Post directional signage to help community members clearly navigate to keep traffic flow in one direction, and communicate all procedures.

For walk-in pick-ups:

  • Post signage outside of the entrance stating masks are required before entering, and to not enter if you are sick.
  • Minimize the gathering of clients by having a volunteer screen before they enter the pick up/distribution area and monitor the number of clients.

For delivery to homes or other organizations:

  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer to delivery persons, as well as disinfectant wipes to clean frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, steering wheel). Delivery persons should clean their hands between deliveries.
  • Deliveries should be contactless if possible, with items being left at the door.
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