Tags: Coronavirus | food banks | coronavirus | unemployment | food

With US Unemployment Surging, Food Banks Try To Feed The Hungry

With US Unemployment Surging, Food Banks Try To Feed The Hungry
People wait in line in their vehicles for a chance to receive food at a Food Bank drive-through distribution in Van Nuys, Calif., as the coronavirus pandemic continues. (Mario Tama/Getty)

By    |   Friday, 10 April 2020 10:36 PM

A massive surge in unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic is straining food banks across America.

According to the Daily Mail, motorists lined up for over a mile for emergency groceries offered Friday at a drive-up site run by a Pittsburgh food bank.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank planned to distribute two boxes of food to each vehicle, enough to make 40 meals — expected to help up to 1,300 people at a three-hour event at PPG Paints Arena.

Aerial footage from KDKA-TV showed a line of cars stretching over a mile. 

“They had jobs, they were able to care for their families, but their hours have been reduced or their jobs have been furloughed for a time being,” Charlese McKinney, a director at the Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, told KDKA.

In normal times, the Food Bank for New York usually supplies about 1,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other institutions with groceries to help feed the needy.

But the pandemic has forced 40% of these institutions to suspend operations, which means the Food Bank needs to find another way to get food to hungry New Yorkers, the New York Times reported.  Now it has set up “pop-up” distribution sites at 15 New York City Housing Authority locations.  

In Inglewood, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank expected to hand out food to as many as 5,000 families on Friday. Hundreds of cars were seen lining the streets by 8 a.m., KTLA-TV reported. 

Hundreds arrived at a one-day grocery giveaway on foot, forming a blocks-long queue in Van Nuys, in the central San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles.

“I have six kids and it's difficult to eat. My husband was working in construction but now we can't pay the rent,” Juana Gomez, 50, of North Hollywood, told the news outlet.

In the past three weeks, 16.8 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid, and Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the country, estimates 37 million people are food insecure.

“I've never witnessed a system being more strained,” Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, told ABC News.

“Our estimations are that we will need to serve an additional 17.1 million people through this crisis, on top of an already 37-40 million people that we were serving before.”

“For the first time probably in our history, we've had to turn some people away,” she added. “We don't want to do that, ever.”

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A massive surge in unemployment caused the coronavirus pandemic is straining food banks across America.
food banks, coronavirus, unemployment, food
Friday, 10 April 2020 10:36 PM
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