As the number of Hepatitis A cases continues to grow every day, a local soup kitchen is taking action. Manna Meal serves more than 400 meals a day, 7 days a week. So food safety has to be a top priority.
Hundreds of people rely on Manna Meal as their only source of food for the day. So with many coming through the door, the charity is ratcheting up their efforts to keep volunteers and clients safe from Hepatitis A.
“Yesterday I think we did a around 450 meals, we’re averaging 410 a day, that’s breakfast and lunch. Our numbers have gone up significantly since February.” Tara Martinez told 13 News.
So when Martinez started hearing about a Hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky, she took it seriously.
“Whenver someone comes in to volunteer, especially as we welcome them and take them to sign-in.. and they wash their hands and put gloves on. That’s the very first things that happens,” Martinez explained.
Martinez knows good hand washing can prevent the spread of Hep A, but a volunteer could come into Manna Meal already infected.
“We actually had the entire staff, while the virus was still just in Kentucky, inoculated. We were vaccinated May 1st and I know Covenant House was vaccinated. We offered free vaccinations to our clients to our volunteers and anyone who wanted to come in,” Martinez added.
Martinez says even with the shot, food safety continues to be a top priority, with all “excellent” Health Department ratings.
“We want to make sure one that our clients, our populations being served is well-taken-care-of, but like I said that our volunteers/our staff are happy and healthy when they leave,” Martinez said.
If you are interested in getting a Hepatitis A vaccine, there will be three mass vaccination clinics.
May 25th 8a-6p Kanawha-Charleston Health Department
May 30th 8a-6p Charleston Civic Center
June 1st 8a-6p St. George Conference Center