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Bay Area food banks experience surge in demand amid coronavirus crisis

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – As Bay Area hospitals brace for a surge in patients, the coronavirus is also creating another kind of unprecedented surge in demand at local food banks.

“We’ve seen literally 1000% increase in call volume to our emergency food helpline,” Michael Altfest, with the Alameda County Community Food Bank, said. 

“We’re seen it some distributions of 30 to 50% increase in people,” Lisa Sherrill, with the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, said. 

“So it’s our regular distribution +10,000 is where we’re right now and we’re not sure where we’re headed,” Paul Ash, with the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, said.

All of these food banks say while this crisis is hard on their regulars, they are also seeing a new kind of clientele.

“Across-the-board we’re seeing people who have never had to come to a food bank before or knew how to find resources like this,” Sherrill said. 

“Us you can see clearly because they open their trunks when we put the groceries in we get a little glimpse in a lives is a tool belts hardhats cleaning equipment he’s a box of a pretty recently out on the job and all of a sudden they don’t have a job they don’t have the income and they’re looking for help,” Ash said. 

Those with experience in disaster relief expect that we will be feeling the ripple effect of this pandemic well past the date the shelter in place orders are lifted.

“One thing that we all know from experience is that once this emergency ends it does not mean that people are going to be back on their feet right away and everything will be back to normal it takes months if not years for the people who are impacted hardest to get back on their feet,” Altfest said. 

These food banks say in addition to experiencing an increase in demand, food prices are also up, so they are working hard to secure more funding and donations.

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