“Persons are combating proper now”; In accordance with Lengthy Seaside meals banks, demand is larger than ever. • Lengthy Seaside Put up Information

Some Moncton food banks say they have doubled or tripled the need for assistance to local families this year as more and more local residents grapple with unemployment, vacation, and lack of government aid as the pandemic hits its most intense period to date.

“There is a lot of need; People are struggling right now, ”said Diana Lara, executive director of Food Finders, which links surplus groceries and donations to nonprofits across Southern California. “With the number of people laid off and on leave, many people are going to food banks for the first time this year.”

The need is so great that Food Finders have already met their annual goal of moving £ 14 million of rescued groceries by October this year, without the busy holiday season. The organization also sees donations from “everywhere,” Lara said, including manufacturers, retailers, schools, restaurants and hospitals.

The increased distribution through the USDA has also helped food banks keep pace with demand.

“We’re moving as much food as possible,” Lara said, adding that food banks in the area are telling Food Finders that they need as much food as possible.

A long line of cars during a giveaway for groceries for 2,000 households at the Moncton Convention Center. Saturday December 19, 2020. Photo by Stephen Carr.

Smaller food banks and organizations have also felt the increased demand. Help Me Help You has doubled the number of food pantries in Moncton since March, said managing director Zina Washington. They are also expanding their new grocery delivery program to serve the elderly and those in need.

“The effects of the crisis are still being felt,” Washington said. “And it keeps growing; it’s not over.”

Washington said her organization is struggling the most with meeting the needs of people who don’t have homes to cook in. The homeless make up a large part of their clientele, so providing them with filling and shelf-stable food can be a challenge.

At Urban Community Outreach, the number of grocery boxes they provide families with weekly rose from a handful to around 25, in addition to the 170 meals for their homeless customers, said interim executive Ann Schmit-Lampe. That doesn’t seem like much, but it makes a big difference for the small nonprofit that is open once a week.

“It seems as if more and more people ask for food every week,” said Schmit-Lampe, and more and more for rent support.

While Urban Community Outreach has been able to stay adequately filled, their businesses are often depleted by the middle of the week, she said.

Volunteers hand out groceries during a grocery giveaway at the Moncton Convention Center on Saturday morning. Photo by Stephen Carr.

A larger pantry, Moncton Community Table, has increased the opening hours for fresh produce and non-perishable items in their Bellflower warehouse to four days a week with no appointment required. They now feed between 2,500 and 3,000 people every week. Before the pandemic, it was around 1,200 to 1,500 people.

Aside from direct donations, some pantries only need hands on deck. With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, more and more people are concerned about exposure to the virus and are concerned about volunteering, said Kristen Cox, executive director of Moncton Community Table.

She has seen the need for grocery boxes shipped from just a handful to 850 homes in and around Moncton this year.

“We sometimes go home with the lights off because they can’t afford the electric bill and have the food delivered to their door,” said Cox.

You need to keep home deliveries for the elderly, sick, immunocompromised or without a means of transport. Volunteers make deliveries every Sunday, though Cox said a lack of volunteers made it more difficult. In the last week it took until Tuesday for all deliveries to be made, she said.

But people are unemployed and need the help, so she and her team are working to meet the need as best they can, she said. Your organization also collects blankets, jackets and socks for the winter for those without accommodation.

“We don’t have a safety net,” said Cox. “We’re just trying to do what we can to help.”

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