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Second Harvest Food Bank CEO tests positive for coronavirus

The food bank organization which helps feed those in need across the Piedmont Triad announced its CEO, Eric Aft, has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC CEO Eric Aft has tested positive for COVID-19, the food bank announced in a release. 

Aft went to a local hospital for treatment with a diagnosis of pneumonia and later tested positive for the coronavirus. He shared with the Second Harvest team that his doctors feel “very positive” about his prognosis.

“To protect the health and safety of food bank staff, partner agencies, and volunteers and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines, Aft began self-isolating and quarantining at the first signs of symptoms and continued to lead the organization remotely,” said Michelle Butt, Second Harvest Food Bank Board Chair. “Prior to Eric’s quarantine, the organization had already taken steps to dramatically alter our footprint and processes, ensuring the safety of our staff, volunteers, partners, and product. Now, as Eric turns his attention to his recovery, the food bank’s highly capable senior leadership team and staff, supported by myself and Board Vice-Chair Phil McAdams and with the full support of the board, continues the essential work of the food bank.”

Second Harvest said strategies to help families in need of food assistance during this time are still in place. These include: 

  • A modified system for partner agency pick-ups, which allows the Second Harvest network to continue serving the growing need for food assistance among families, seniors, and children across the 18 Northwest North Carolina counties the food bank serves;
  • A ramping up of Providence Community Meals, which is delivering prepared meals for children living in low-income neighborhoods, a child care program serving first responders, adults living in a Greensboro-based homeless shelter, and others--delivering more than 23,000 meals last week alone.
  • Emergency Food Boxes: Special food purchases for families, children, and seniors;
  • Heard Café: A special meal program for displaced hospitality workers.

Second Harvest Food Bank continues to seek strong community support including financial gifts to the Virtual Food Drive campaign at FeedCommunityNOW.org and volunteer opportunities. The food bank is limiting the size of volunteer shifts and enforcing all CDC guidelines for social distancing and stringent sanitization protocols and welcomes volunteers who meet the guidelines listed on its website at SecondHarvestNWNC.org.

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