Having a full kitchen of healthy foods is becoming a luxury. Food pantries across the country are still seeing a dramatic increase in need.
“I hope that we eventually get this thing under control, so we can wean everyone off the need for food pantries and shelters like ours, because this is not sustainable,” said Kim Guadagno, CEO of Fulfill, a New Jersey food bank.
Guadagno says her organization has seen an increase in demand of almost 2.5 million meals compared to this time last year.
Feeding America says at the peak in April, there was a 70% increase in demand, and it’s sustained around 60% higher.
Many food banks say they're seeing many families for the first time.
“You can always tell someone who has never been to a food pantry before. They come literally right up to this building in tears, because they’ve never had to ask for help before and it’s crushing to all of us,” said Guadagno.
Feeding America expects that increased need will continue during the holidays, which is an important time for food banks.
“We see increased awareness around hunger and food insecurity around the holidays. It’s a great time for food banks to fundraise. A lot of that fundraising helps sustain them throughout the year,” said Zuani Villarreal, Director of Communications at Feeding America.
Food banks are having to purchase more product because of supply chain disruptions.
They say right now, cash donations are critical for that and to purchase new supplies like PPE.