The prompt implementation of COVID 19 safe procedures at the Benalla Food Co-op, has meant we were able to keep operating through-out this disturbing time of uncertainty and lockdowns. I had many consultations with Callum Morrison, BRC Public Health Officer, fine-tuning the procedures for the Food Co-op, to continue serving our members. Keeping people safe was of prime importance. We were reassured by Callum's comment that “we are providing an essential service". Numerous procedures have been implemented, along with the basic hygiene principals such as washing hands, physical distancing, not coming in to the food co-op if you are unwell and limiting the customers to three at a time, which was well under 4 sq metres per person. Earlier on, I think we might have been the only place in Benalla that didn't run out of toilet paper!
A short video was produced illustrating our procedures. I would like to thank Sonia Bourke for putting this together.
With the advent of COVID 19 it became a priority to have and encourage the preferred digital method of online payment. Each member who operates the computer system has been trained up to do this. I would like to thank Tanya Walker and Peter Holmes for overseeing this transition.
A number of weeks ago I put a number of options to the committee as to how we could continue running the coop in the advent of worsening outbreaks of COVID. Each committee member contributed thoughtful and suggestive responses ranging from how we currently manage to the use of online ordering and the use of paper-bags. The majority of committee members were happy with the current procedures as long as COVID numbers remained low in Regional Victoria.
I would like to acknowledge there have been a few general members who have chosen not to shop at the food co-op during this time. Other than that, during the COVID restrictions, the food co-op has been busier than the same period of time last year, and we have had fourteen new members join the co-op, which is quite astonishing.
If you would like to check financial statements refer to the treasurer's report (BSFG Annual Reports, when published).
I would like to thank all the duty managers and computer operators who do a wonderful job carrying out extra responsibilities. We have had a number of new members take this on.
I would like to thank Julie McPherson who has the relentless job of organising the roster, Rhona Rose who keeps you up to date on a weekly basis, Loren who sometimes takes delivery of our orders along with Sonia who takes delivery of special items such as Tradewinds and dried fruits from Mildura.
Lastly, I would like to thank all our amazing dedicated committee members, who are committed to the well being of the food co-op and for me personally are a truly wonderful group of people who offer support, make suggestions and are prepared to work through any arising issues. I am profoundly grateful to be working with you all.
Benalla Food Co-op Coordinator