Food banks across the country, and here at home are seeing a great need for food as the pandemic continues.
“We were at 105,000 in need prior to COVID, and that has jumped up to 160,000 in the 23 counties served by River Bend Foodbank,” says Mike Miller CEO of River Bend Foodbank.
As unemployment has risen so has the percentage of food insecure households.
Miller says much of the demand for food banks came from people who are newly food insecure due to the pandemic.
“It’s been one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve had during COVID. The phone calls from people who have never needed help from a food bank or food pantry before in their lives and they don’t know what to do,” Miller.
Miller says the storm that left many without power also contributed to the uptick.
“There are even more people in need because of the derecho and it just added to the disaster of 2020.”
Meeting that increase in demand during the pandemic has come with additional challenges for food banks.
Like working with a fraction of volunteers, and an interruption in their food supply.
Miller says as the pandemic lingers on they anticipate the need will only increase.
“It is the challenge of where we are. Of course this is a marathon not a sprint. We’re not sure how long this is going to last. We’re prepared not just to step up and respond immediately, but to sustain that over time as long as the need exist,” Miller.
This month is hunger awareness month.
Miller says it’s an opportunity nationally to highlight how people.
For more information about you you can help or even get help you can visit River Bend Foodbank’s website.