Food Banks Face Shortages During Pandemic

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Many people who have never needed food aid before are scrambling to feed their families.

Bridget McAree, Staff Writer

Food banks may be going millions of dollars over budget as they try to support people laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonprofits across the country are helping by buying truckloads of food because of the dramatic decline in donations from supermarkets that have been left empty by panic shoppers. In Pennsylvania, food banks are spending an extra one million a week and yet are still having to turn hungry families away.

In Alabama, one pantry looks set to go $3.6 million over budget by August as food purchases costs for things such as electricity and supplies have tripled.“We’re applying for grants as fast as we can,” said Jenny Waltman from Grace Klein pantry in Birmingham. 

North Fulton Community Charities in Roswell said it’s going over budget every week, and the biggest need is for funding to buy supplies for the food pantry.

The economic fallout of the global health crisis has seen record numbers of first-timers. People who have never previously needed food aid or extra help are scrambling to find a food bank that can provide their families with food.

As demand for food rises, the price of non-perishables such as peanut butter, eggs, canned vegetables, beans, pasta, rice and jam are dramatically increasing. Also, there have been 4-8 week delays for people to be able to receive the food due to shortages and high demand. 

Since the pandemic began, 22 million people have filed for unemployment, though the true number of layoffs is increasing by the minute.

“It’s not surprising. We already knew a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Leslie Bacho, chief executive of Second Harvest food bank, which spent $250,000 on cleaning supplies in March.

To help families in need, you can donate to organizations such as NFCC locally or Feeding America, which operates most of the food banks in America and is responsible for providing food to most families in need.