bout one in three people seeking groceries at not-for-profit pantries last month have never previously needed emergency food aid, according to interviews with a dozen providers across the country.
The national guard has been deployed to help food banks cope with rising demand in cities including Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Phoenix amid growing concerns that supplies may run low as the crisis evolves. Overstretched food pantries are switching to drive-thrus and home deliveries to minimize the spread of Covid-19 as almost 300 million Americans are urged to stay at home.
“I’ve been in this business over 30 years, and nothing compares to what we’re seeing now. Not even when the steel mills closed down did we see increased demand like this,” said Sheila Christopher, director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, which represents 18 food banks across 67 counties.