HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The season of giving is just around the corner and the need for food bank services this year is likely to be even greater due to the coronavirus pandemic.
10 On Your Side spoke to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. Since the pandemic began, there’s been a significant increase in the number of people dealing with food insecurity.
The food bank is seeing the effects too. We’re told donations are down and food prices are going up.
It’s been eight months since the pandemic began and the food bank isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Since March, the organization has distributed more than 7.2 million pounds of food.
“For our mobile pantries, we had a 63% increase in the amount of food that we distributed just in the mobile pantries this past year compared to the year before,” said Executive Director Karen Joyner.
We’re told before COVID-19, 60,000 people across the Virginia Peninsula were identified as food insecure. Now, that number is estimated to be around 89,000.
Joyner said the food bank is being impacted by the pandemic too.
“Since the beginning of COVID through September, our food donations are down 30% over the same period of time last year,” she said.
That means more money is being spent to keep up with the demand.
Joyner anticipates the need will only grow into the new year once federal coronavirus food relief programs expire.
“We desperately need donated food right now,” she said. “We’re buying a lot more food than we ever have.”
They’re looking forward to the annual Mayflower Marathon Holiday Food Drive later this month. However, Joyner is reminding the public: food insecurity doesn’t stop after the holidays.
“There are people who are hungry every day of the year,” she said.
She encourages the public to chip in however you can.
“We always need volunteers so if you can’t afford to donate food or money, please donate your time,” Joyner said.
The Mayflower Marathon food drive starts November 20. For more information, click here.
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