FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Many food banks across the nation are struggling to meet increased demand amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many are also running low on volunteers, as people follow directives to stay at home. On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom deployed about 500 California National Guard members to assist at food banks across the state.
As of Monday, no troops were tasked to help at Central Valley food banks, but with continued increased demand, that could change in the coming weeks.
The Central California Food Bank in Southeast Fresno is grappling with more people needing food than before. Food Bank CEO Andy Souza said they typically have 6 to 7 distribution trucks making deliveries a day, but it’s increased to 11 just within the past week.
“At the end of the day, it’s making sure no senior, no child or adult has to go home hungry tonight,” said Souza.
The shelves inside the warehouse are still stacked, but several are empty, as they await to be restocked.
“Like Grocery Stores this is a sudden increase in demand, with schools closing and schools having to juggle being at home not going to work, or with increased childcare costs, that hit hard really fast,” said Souza.
The team at the Central California Food Bank is doing their best to fill the need, but like everyone, is faced with their own challenges, from keeping shelves stocked to filling the fridge with produce during the slow agricultural season.
“Citrus and winter crops are dying down and spring crops haven’t started yet, so unfortunately what is normally donated to us in large quantities we have to go and purchase,” said Souza.
Souza said the California National Guard has made themselves available to assist when they need. For now, Souza hopes they can receive enough help from the community to continue their operations but are open to the idea if demand continues in the coming weeks.
” If we have that huge push they have made themselves available to us if we need them but again we would love for folks in the community to come beside us to continue to make this work,” said Souza.
At Fresno State University, the campus is closed, but the student cupboard is open, supplying an increasing number of students in need of food and hygiene products.
Click here if you are in need of food assistance.
Click here if you would like to donate to the Central California Food Bank.
Click here if you are a Fresno State student in need of food assistance.
Click here if you would like to donate to the Fresno State Student Cupboard.