COVID-19 PCNSW Guidelines for External Food Ministries (updated as from 6 January 2021)

Food Ministry Guidelines

A. Inside Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Wollongong and Blue Mountains)

These guidelines apply to external food ministries (that is formal ministries conducted by a congregation for the community), both new and planned, from 6 January 2021 until further notice for all food ministries in the greater Sydney metropolitan area including the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Central Coast Local Government Areas:

  • All community kitchens, dinners, breakfasts and the like that provide cooked food to groups are to be closed for the time being.
  • Prepackaged goods such as pantry staples may continue to be provided. The following must be remain in place to ensure there is no gathering of people beyond the current government restrictions and to reduce the number of people who have touched goods prior to distribution:
    • Fresh produce may be provided.
    • Ideally, goods should be prepacked into a bag for collection.
    • Goods must:
      • Be prepacked into the bag at least 72 hours before individuals collect the bag.
      • Goods in bags must then be placed in a convenient location for collection and not touched for the 72 hour period.
      • Individuals can be invited to collect a bag after that period. Ideally this should be across a wide period of time so that no groups are formed

OR

  • Individuals may be allowed to select items from a pantry or shelf, however these items should only be handled by a food ministry worker who has washed their hands prior to donning disposable gloves. That is, the worker should pick up the selected item and pass it to the individual. Items should have been on the shelf, untouched, for 72 hours before distribution. The individual receiving the goods should only touch the bag that they are taking home.
  • Frozen meals can be provided. The following must be implemented:
    • Home cooked frozen meals cannot be provided.
    • Frozen meals can be purchased from a retailer.
    • The freezer surfaces, especially the handle, should be regularly cleaned.
    • Frozen meals should be distributed by an individual who has washed their hands prior to donning disposable gloves, directly to the recipient

All persons involved in a food ministry must not have:

  • Travelled from anywhere overseas in the last 14 days,
  • Attended any of the locations listed on the NSW government site here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates – please note that this list is updated regularly and should be checked at least daily,
  • Had a fever in the last 14 days,
  • Had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or
  • Had close contact with anyone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Masks must be worn at all times and contact details of those attending the food ministry must be kept for 28 days. You may wish to consider using the government QR App, but if you use a written record make sure all the details recorded are legible.

B. Outside Greater Sydney

These guidelines apply to food ministries (that is formal ministries conducted by a congregation for the community), both new and planned, from 6 January 2021 until further notice for all food ministries NOT in the greater Sydney metropolitan area including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast Community:

  • kitchens, dinners, breakfasts and the like that provide cooked food to groups can reopen.  Provision of pre-packaged, fresh food and frozen meals may be provided.

All persons involved in a food ministry must not have:

  • Travelled from anywhere overseas in the last 14 days,
  • Attended any of the locations listed on the NSW government site here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates – please note that this list is updated regularly and should be checked at least daily,
  • Had a fever in the last 14 days,
  • Had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or
  • Had close contact with anyone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days

The following apply to all external food ministries

Social distancing requirements as set by the government must be adhered to at all times.

For further information about what is required see https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules

General information from the NSW Food Authority can be found here https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/_Documents/industry/donating_food.pdf

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at emcclean@pcnsw.org.au and I will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible.

Kind regards,
Elizabeth McClean
Chief Executive Officer
Jericho Road Presbyterian Social Services