BOONE — Hospitality House implemented drive-thru service only for clients and a new pre-packaged protocol for its food pantry on Wednesday. Services are still fully operational, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

“Now this might change by tomorrow,” Director of Development Todd Carter said.

Carter said Hospitality House is working in accordance with guidelines set by AppHealthCare. The transition to drive-thru service is in response to the March 17 executive order from Gov. Roy Cooper that limits the sale of food and beverages to carry-out, drive-thru and delivery only.

Orange cones direct clients through the parking lot of Hospitality House to the outside food pantry door, where they are asked to stay in the car. A staff member, intern or volunteer will greet customers at their car, collect their order and load the food in.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served as pre-plated and packaged to-go meals.

Carter said that most returning clients have a Second Harvest Food Bank card and will use this when going through the drive-thru. New clients are asked to fill out personal information before receiving food. Carter said there are no county limitations for those in need of food.

Client choice on food is suspended until further notice. Carter said the Hospitality House has always been lenient on what food items patrons are allowed to take. However, because of the current situation and shortage of items, there are limitations on what can be given.

Patrons who ride the bus or walk will have the option for a food bag instead of a box. They can pick up their food at a white table set up outside the food pantry door.

“We apologize for this inconvenience but we need to take extra precautions to keep everyone safe,” Hospitality House said in a social media post.

The agency is still providing housing, as well as showers and laundry service. Patrons in need of these services can call or walk in and speak to the front desk. Carter said clients are still allowed inside the building, but these precautions are being taken to lessen the amount of in-person interactions.

WeCAN, the agency’s crisis assistance program, has suspended walk-in hours. All assistance has shifted to phone and email. The program is still operational and assists with heating, utilities and evictions. Email wecan@hosphouse.org or leave a message at (828) 264-1237 ext. 1 to speak with the WeCAN service coordinator Graham Doege. Donations can be made to WeCAN at www.hosphouse.org/wecan.

Carter said the Hospitality House serves 11,500 meals per month and is prepared to continue feeding anyone who needs it, no questions asked. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.hosphouse.org.

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