Food banks struggling to stay stocked with donations amid pandemic

Thousands line up at food banks across the U.S.

Food banks across the country are struggling to stay stocked with food donations amid the pandemic. Even with more people donating during the holiday season, some workers say it isn’t enough to feed everyone.

PENNSAUKEN, NJ – Food banks across the country are struggling to stay stocked with food donations as the pandemic continues to take its toll on families.

Even with more people donating during the holiday season, some workers say it isn’t enough to feed everyone. 

“This year is especially hard, because of course we are seeing consistent surge in demand at Feeding America food banks all across the nation,” said Katie Fitzgerald, the EVP and COO of Feeding America.

Food banks across the country are struggling to stay stocked with food donations amid the pandemic. (KATIE BYRNE / FOX NEWS)

Across the U.S., more and more people have been lining up at food banks for help feeding their families.

“People in line will roll down their windows and say, ‘Thank you for being here. I had no idea I would ever need food,’” said Fred Wasiak, President and CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey.

According to Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger-relief organization, the demand for food donations is higher than ever.

“We've seen an average of 60% more people showing up for food distributions,” Fitzgerald said.

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In the Philadelphia suburbs, the Bucks County Opportunity Council donates food to more than 60 pantries in the area.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, the Bucks County Opportunity Council donates food to more than 60 pantries in the area. (KATIE BYRNE / FOX NEWS)

“We're seeing people that we've never seen before, people asking for assistance for the first time they lost their job because of COVID. You know, they can't get out of their house because of COVID. So, it's really our numbers have doubled and sometimes tripled in some of our programs because of COVID,” said Heather Foor, of the Bucks County Opportunity Council.

Some food banks are struggling to keep up with the demand.

“Since COVID, we've been serving close at 95,000 people a month. And that's about a 40% plus increase since last year at this time," Wasiak said. "The donations aren't keeping up with the increase in demand."

At the Food Bank of South Jersey, volunteers are working to feed as many people as they can for Thanksgiving. 

Food banks are trying to feed as many people as they can for Thanksgiving. (KATIE BYRNE / FOX NEWS)

“Last year, we gave out 13,000 turkeys. This year, we will probably distribute 22,000 turkeys,” said Wasiak.

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Jim Alturo has been a volunteer for most of his life. 

“I used to drive by all the time. And I said, 'Boy, I'd like to work there,'” Alturo said.

He said he's in it for as long as it takes.

“It's priceless to me because it's really what I wanted to do. One of the reasons I retired early was that I could pay forward,” he said.

Workers say the winter months are the hardest because people have higher utility bills as it gets colder. Plus, when the holidays are over, donations typically go down.

“It's not going away. It's not going away. We are going to be here for a while,” Wasiak added.

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