COVID-19 Special Updates – Food for thought: Getting the food you need

Apr 1, 2020 | CV19, Impact Updates, INFO-FLASH News archive

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As we stay at home to be safe and healthy, we are having to rethink our approach getting food to our tables. Whatever the method you use, we need to give it some thought and proceed with caution as older adults. Here are a few tips to do it safely. 

If you are self-isolating and especially if you have symptoms, it is important to maintain good nutrition. Make sure you are eating and drinking regularly, even if you have a low appetite. You can find more information on nutrition and healthy eating at (Dietitians of Canada) or Canada’s Food Guide (Health Canada). 

The new when, where, and how of shopping 

We are seeing a variety of options to shop in person and online that are safer for older adults. Take advantage of early shopping hours offered by some stores for seniors and other vulnerable customers with special needs.  

If you have not tried online grocery shopping before, this may be the time to try ordering online for pick up at a store or delivery to your door. However, you may experience delays due to increased demand, so plan ahead. The City is also encouraging residents to support local businesses with the Buy Local initiative. Check out the list of what is available from small businesses in our community.  

If you need help getting groceries, do not be shy to ask your family, friends and neighbours for help. Consider putting a card with your request and contact information in your front window or on your apartment door to let others know you need help. If you are able to help others, leave a note in an older neighbour’s mail box or on their apartment door, like the bilingual card provided by Councillor McKenney.  

Other Meal Options 

There are meal delivery services that are low-cost and convenient through agencies such as Meals on Wheels (Ottawa)Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre, Rural Ottawa South Support ServicesJewish Family Services (Kosher Meals on Wheels), and Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre. They continue to deliver meals to older clients with some changes in the delivery process to protect your health and safety. To cut down on the number of deliveries to your home, most agencies are asking you to order frozen meals. Try this service to reduce the number of times you must leave the house to shop as well.  

Many restaurants continue to offer home delivery through services such as Uber EatsSkip the DishesDoorDash, or a new local service Love Local Delivery and Together Apart . Call or look-up your favourite restaurants online to see what is on their menu and for their safe food handling practices, such as contactless delivery.   

Food safety and COVID19 

While there is no evidence that food is a source or route of the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands before and after handling food. Other resources include: 

Keeping meals fun and social  

Meals are better when it shared with others. When you can’t share meals with friends and family, get creative about sharing meals at a safe distance.  

  • Arrange a morning coffee break with neighbours while staying in your driveways or backyards or on your apartment balconies. 
  • Invite neighbours on your apartment floor to a doorway potluck. Have a chat over dinner from your doorway. Remember it is not safe to share the food, but you can share the company at a safe distance. 
  • Plan meals with your extended family on your next call or video chat. Challenge them to make “crazy pizzas” at the same time, with whatever crazy food combos are available at home; or try an old family favourite recipe. Post pictures and recipes of your meals on social media for others to share in your mealtime fun.  
  • Sit down with your afternoon cup of tea and call a friend you have not talked to in ages. 

There are many options to get food to your table while maintaining physical distance and your social relationships. Please share your ideas with us and we will add them to our Facebook page or our new Special COVID-0-19 Update website.  

More Food for Thought – Other Links and Updates

November 1: Researchers show extent of COVID-19 spread in grocery stores

August 16: Bag Half Full is service is to serve the sick, elderly, self-isolating, and immunocompromised with limited ability to go out for groceries. Our volunteers (with police and background checks) are available to pickup and drop off groceries and prescriptions to those in need. Delivery and payment are contactless to help protect all parties and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

August 5: Bars and restaurants to track contact info for 30 days

July 16: Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning and Cooking During COVID-19

May 14: Increasing numbers of grocery stores will require customers to wear masks. (CBC)

May 8: Help isolated ethno-cultural seniors receive affordable cultural food

May 1: When to Shop website tracks best hours to shop at various locations around Ottawa.

April 29: Ottawa Markets is launching an online market option for our food producers during these difficult times. This will allow farmers and customers to connect over a pick-up option at both the ByWard and Parkdale Markets! Stay tuned for more details. Launching May 2020. is offering products from 16 Ottawa Farmers Market vendors online for pick-up. Online orders must be made by 9 p.m. on Wednesdays for Saturday deliveries. The minimum purchase is $50 and there is a $5 delivery charge. Alternately, orders can be picked up at Raon Kitchen (6-65 Bentley Ave. in Nepean) on Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

April 24: 137 Ottawa restaurants offering delivery and takeout during COVID-19

April 21: Food Stuff Delivery Options in Ottawa During the Pandemic of 2020

April 22: Chatelaine How To Store Groceries To Make Them Last

April 18: Dear God, the Dishes: Cooking Lessons From Self-Isolation

April 17: Farm Boy Fresh Online is offering online orders to seniors over 60 for pick-up at the Train Yards location.

April 16: Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning, and Cooking During COVID-19, Ottawa Public Health

April 16: A Grocery Store Employee Gives The Best Tips On Staying Safe From The Coronavirus While Shopping

April 9: Food resources for isolated seniors, City of Ottawa, Human Services Task Force

April 8: COVID – 19 Champlain Response Site: Pharmacy Delivery and Help with Food and Meals on Wheels

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