As millions of Americans face unemployment, food pantries have become an essential means of survival. In the heart of the epidemic, Queens, New York, one food pantry is struggling with the ever-increasing number of people. NBC News NOW went there and talked to people waiting for hours in the rain.
Many of the people who wait for hours online don’t qualify for any bailouts or government finding. These New Yorkers have to stand in line from 5 am until noon in hopes that they are able to leave with a free bag of food. Many of the elderly in need are leaving without getting any food due to lack of organization and food.
Pedro Rodriguez the executive director of La Jornada food pantry says they started out with 500 people visiting the Queens’ food bank in Blands Housing per week, now the numbers have quadrupled. He says thousands of desperate people are showing up who have lost their jobs with families at home and simply need food. “In a month it’s gonna get worse! This line that is now 2,000 people will be 4,000 people!”
In Los Angeles, California reports are the same. Nick Vyas, the founding executive director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at USC, has been watching supply issues since the pandemic started.
“The coronavirus has created a perfect storm for potential food disruption, similar to what healthcare workers have experienced with shortages of personal protective gear.”
The combination of food hoarding, factory closures, supply-chain disruptions, and record-breaking unemployment has put the food surpluses that so many food banks rely on at risk.
Consider donating to your local food banks or even a person you know that is in need. A little goes a long way, and this too shall pass.
Watch the video below.