SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Millions of Americans are turning to food banks for the first time in 2020.
Associated Press Data analysis found a sharp rise in the amount of food distributed from food banks compared with last year.
There are so many uncertainties in this pandemic, and for many money is tight.
“I can tell you right now that we have never in my 25-year career, I’ve never seen this many people that have never needed services who are just really struggling,” Blake Young, president and CEO of Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, said.
Before the pandemic, the Sacramento Food Bank would serve about 150,000 people a month. Now, that number has doubled.
Some of the people they’re serving for the first time include those impacted by the restaurant and tourism industry and even families who now have children at home who qualified for free school lunches.
“Now overlay a pandemic and we already had a crisis,” Young said. “Let's just take child hunger. You have that many kids that are going hungry. They have a hard time focusing on school.”
In 2019, Placer Food Bank, which serves Placer, El Dorado and Nevada counties, helped 13,000 people at their farmers markets. This year so far, they’ve served 37,000 people. Plus, they’re seeing more seniors in their lines.
They also added more services where there are no grocery stores nearby.
“There are lots of areas in our three counties that do not have a grocery store in their community,” Mary Shoenberger, Associate Director of Programs at Placer Food Bank, said. “They would have to drive 5, 10, 15 miles to get to a Raley's or a Safeway.”
If you and your family are looking to get food from the food bank, Placer Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and Yolo Food Bank told ABC10 that there is no income verification and they try to make the process easy. Some even offer drive-thru pick-ups.
“We work hard to eliminate any sense of shame,” Joy Cohan, Director of Philanthropic Engagement with Yolo Food Bank, said. “We want people to feel warmly welcomed. This is just part of the local food system.”
Check the food banks' websites for distribution days and times. You may need to call ahead before you go to pick up.
The food banks also encourage people to donate or volunteer with the food banks.
Sacramento Food Bank says for every $1 donation they can turn it into five meals.
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