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Northeast Iowa Food Bank allows patrons back inside as cold weather is near

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - The Northeast Iowa Food Bank is now allowing its patrons back inside to get the food they need, after only allowing curbside pick-up for months.

The COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for the curbside pick-up option being the only possibility, but with new safety measures in place at the food bank, it is open once again.

"Now with the cold weather, we are transitioning to inside," NEIA Food Bank Executive Director Barbara Prather said.

Mask wearing and social distancing is a priority for the food bank. The floors are also lined with blue tape to serve as a pathway for the patrons to follow, and keep cart traffic flowing.

"The number one goal of the food bank is to make sure that people, when they come, they get the food that they need, but also that it's done in a safe manner," Prather said.

By allowing people inside, the patrons can now choose exactly what food they want, instead of having prepared bags handed off to them at their cars. The curbside service will continue until November 20, and then all services will move indoors.

Patrons are encouraged to pre-register before visiting the food bank, but if they are unable to do so, the staff at the NEIA food Bank will be there to help register on-site. Clients can pre-register here.

Staff at the food bank say they are looking forward to continuing to serve the community through these tough times.

"You just never know what has happened in life, and this year has been so up and down with people who need food and are food insecure can come and get food," Prather said.

She also says that volunteers have been low in numbers since the start of the pandemic, and with the reopening of the inside will require the need for more volunteers. Prospective volunteers can visit the Northeast Iowa Food Bank's website for information.

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