Pandemic creates surge in demand for assistance at food pantries

Food banks struggle to keep up with demand

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the demand to help those in need remains a priority for local food pantries.

“By the end of August, we had already served more people in 2020 than we have in all of 2019. On average, we are seeing 1,800 to 2,000 each and every week,” said Tina Postel at Loaves & Fishes.

On Thursday, Loaves & Fishes held two drive-thru food pickups, with the afternoon location at Eastern Hills Baptist Church.

At the church, German Garcia waited in line with his 7-year-old old son. He says the week-worth of food will help his family.

“Saving some money and food for dinner this afternoon," Garcia said.

Last month, a report released by Mecklenburg County officials revealed a five percent jump in food insecurity compared to last year with 17-percent saying they lack access to enough food.

At Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, from March 19 through Sept. 30, over 12 million more pounds of food were distributed compared to the same time last year.

Over 23,000 families have also been served at school-based mobile pantries.

With the holiday season right around the corner there is a concern the demand will also increase.

"We’re certainly anticipating a spike in food needs, that’s why we’re trying to get our warehouse loaded

with prepacked food as possible," Postel added.

She also encourages anyone in need of help to contact the pantry.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.