How Will Food Banks Meet Demand Related to COVID-19?
With children at home and countless adults out of work food pantries and food banks are more important than ever for many. Americans. They've been the difference between eating and not eating for years with the novel. Corona virus pandemic that demand for food could soar higher than we've seen in our lifetimes. And so what do we do to ensure these essential local food pantries? Stay afloat honestly. It won't be easy. We took for example our local Atlanta Community Food Bank which as one of the ten largest food banks in the world distributes more than sixty million meals to more than seven hundred fifty five thousand people the Metro Atlanta area and north Georgia. But maintaining. Those numbers isn't only concern. The Food Bank is usually staffed by hundreds of volunteers. Now it has zero it discontinued its volunteer programs to help curb. The spread of the virus and the staff is brainstorming. New Approaches to tackle covered nineteen had on we spoke with Kyle Wade President and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. He said we have to adopt distribution methods and minimize the number of workers coming in and out and instead of asking people to come into pantries to shop as they wouldn't a grocery store. We're asking Pantries prepackaged food into bags and boxes for drive-thru distributions where the client never leaves the car other food banks across the country are similarly adapting in Ohio. One of the earliest states to impose restaurant closures and self-isolation rules foodbanks stopped serving hot food and began distributing brown bag grabbing go meals according to thirteen. Abc In Toledo staff members at local food pantry. Helping hands of Saint. Louis are wearing gloves and in some case masks and they're using tape on the sidewalk show clients where to stand for proper social distancing while waiting for food their team had to stop accepting donations entirely after curbing its volunteer program for safety and harvest. Hope Food Bank in South Carolina shifted its distribution model to drive through only to limit person to person contact with covert nineteen shuttering businesses across the country. The Need to feed the hungry grows rapidly at the same time. Grocery stores are overrun with scared. Shoppers though rest assured supply chain experts. Say That toilet. Paper supplies will be restocked and general food supplies should become more normal as panic buying subsides. So how food banks access. The bulk of supplies they need for one. Wade says the Atlanta Community Food Bank will lean heavily on partner. Farmers he said farms have access produce. And that's a big part of our supply chain right now so we'll rely on that even more because of pre existing grocery store partnerships food pantries can source bulk products quickly and with better margins than consumers. That's why food banks around. The country are asking community members to donate funds instead of food. Wade said you can give me a canned food costs you a dollar or you can give me a dollar and I can get nine cans of food. This is the same. Even outside disaster times for the Atlanta Community Food Bank funds are also more essential than ever because they like many other nonprofits had to cancel fundraising events in March of two thousand nineteen. Their hunger walk run. Generated eighty thousand dollars with ten thousand participants. But this year it's been canceled. School closures across the country could leave up to thirty million kids without meals according to CNBC. That's because the national school lunch program feeds up to thirty million children per day. The correlated breakfast programme beads fourteen point seven million children daily in the child and Adult Care Food Program serves more than six point. One million children schools closed national and local groups are doing their best to keep children fed in North Carolina for example no kid hungry and see is continuously updating list of free school meal locations in Northern Kentucky restaurants like Poseidon's Pizza Company are supplementing local school cafeteria efforts by offering free small pizzas to K. Through twelve kids. According to Fox nineteen celebrity chef Jose Andres turned his New York City and Washington. Dc Michelin Star restaurants into takeaway kitchens to help those in need. Employees are asking for seven dollars per meal. Although those who can't afford to pay don't have to under his also working with other restaurants to serve as community kitchens to cook for world central kitchen and he's calling on Moore to do the same. Where possible end food? Pantries can help with this. To the Atlanta Community Food Bank is bringing supplemental food to five local school districts adding to the resources local cafeterias have in place for daily meals for children and their families. Wade said providing about ten thousand pounds. That's forty five hundred kilos of food per week per site right now. That's about a quarter of a million pounds of food. We expect to provide these schools altogether. The feeding American network which the Atlanta Community Food Bank partner member of is taking unprecedented steps to ensure its members are able to feed people in their local neighborhoods. Feeding America launched a covert Nineteen Response Fund a National Food and fundraising effort to support people facing hunger. They're working with government leaders to ensure its response include support and flexibility for Federal Nutrition programs ensuring that twenty two million children who rely on school meals have access to food outside of the classroom building an inventory of emergency food boxes to distribute food banks as need increases and providing emergency grants to food banks