COVID-19 donation handling protocol

Hi Crafters, 

I trust you are all keeping safe and well, and getting plenty of crafting done during the COVID-19 lockdown!

As we transition down from alert level 4 to level 3, and as we start to move (safely) a little wider around our local regions, we wanted to share the Trustees advice around processing donations, to ensure that everyone is kept safe, particularly as we know that many of our crafters are in the older age group or have health conditions. This information was sent to our team of Coordinators around NZ a few days ago.

 

Handling/processing crafted donations

In order to handle crafted items in a manner that ensures that they get to the charity with no risk of COVID-19 contamination, and to mitigate any potential risk of spread to anybody along the supply chain – we ask our crafters to use the following protocols with the items that they intend to donate to us.

Crafters are asked to:

  • Put swing tags on their completed items, and take a pic of the item/s for posting on Facebook/Instagram.
  • Put the items in a plastic bag (ideally in a clear zip-lock type of bag). Write the date on the outside of the bag to indicate the last date that the item was handled by them.
  • Provided they remain symptom free for 2 weeks, they can then deliver (or arrange for collection) the bags to Regional Crafty Volunteers Coordinators.

It is our understanding that this will ensure that there is no risk of infection spread between crafters and coordinators.

Coordinators have been asked to:

  • Leave the donated items in their bags for at least 1 further week to make sure it’s safe for them to handle, before mixing with other donated items.
  • Bag/box up safe items (including items that were donated prior to lockdown) in preparation for giving to charities.
  • Hold these prepared bags/boxes (untouched) for 2 further weeks before giving to the charity.
  • Provided coordinators remain symptom free for 2 weeks after contact with the items, they can contact the recipient charities to arrange delivery/collection. Recipient charities will be advised of the handling protocol that we have used, so they can decide how long they may wish to hold the items for (depending on their own protocols).  

We have also suggested that when coordinators  are handling donated items, that they consider wearing a facemask and/or gloves, and at the very least they wash/sanitise their hands before and after handling the items.

You will realise that the time lag for getting the items to the charities is considerable. This will mean the demand from charities for products will remain high for a number of months. However, we can’t stress enough the importance of (crafters and coordinators alike) sticking to the above process, as the risk of short-cutting it could be tragic. The safety of crafters and our Coordinators, as well as our charity partners, and of course the end recipient, is paramount.

 

Handling/distributing donated yarn

With regards to the handling donations of yarn received – a similar process will apply. 

  • We ask that people donating yarn hold their donations in a bag (with a date mark) for at least 2 weeks. If symptom free after 2 weeks, donations can be provided to coordinators.
  • Coordinators will hold these donations for at least another week before sorting into bags that could be useful for our crafters. Again these bags will be date marked and held for 2 weeks before distributing to any local crafters to (after another stand down week) make into items for charity. 

The only exception will be if coordinators have unopened/sealed bags of yarn from the supplier, that have been held for at least two weeks as we then have confidence that the yarn contained in the sealed bag should be safe to distribute to crafters.

All of this unfortunately means that for now, there will be very little ability to provide yarn to our crafters.

While we accept that some of this may seem extreme, we must consider the health of all of the people in the distribution chain, and of course the health of the end recipient, who is most likely in some sort of vulnerable situation. To that end, we must all act with responsibility and consideration for others.

Huge thanks again to each and every one of our crafters for all that you do to support charities around our amazing country.

Stay Safe!

Yours – with love, compassion and hope.

Maggie (as well as Lisa and Tracey)

Trustees – Crafty Volunteers of NZ Charitable Trust