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More in Demand Than Ever, Local Food Banks Face Shortages of Food, Manpower amid Coronavirus

Josh Shepherd : Mar 25, 2020  The Stream

"It's even scarier for our older population, who may not be going out to the store. They may not know how to order groceries online. This factors into our mission of feeding people." -Anna Kurian, North Texas Food Bank

airlift[Stream.org] "We are extremely concerned," said Anna Kurian, spokesperson for North Texas Food Bank. "There are actually 800,000 food-insecure people across north Texas. When a disaster happens, people turn to food banks for support." (Image: Courtesy North Texas Food Bank /via The Stream)

As most US states close schools and hospitals prepare for the worst, the global coronavirus crisis has drastically changed daily life. Measures are intended to maximize social distancing to prevent spread of COVID-19.

For people facing homelessness, receiving the most basic necessity of food has become more difficult. From coast to coast, many smaller food pantries have had to close over the past week.

Yet churches are also responding to food shortages. Pastor Scott Sauls of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee related how their local outreaches will continue during the crisis.

"We are moving towards the most vulnerable to love and help them," said Sauls in a phone interview. "Christ gives us the ability to live in faith, rather than fear and self-preservation."

Declines in Grocery Donations and Volunteers

North Texas Food Bank works with a network of over 200 partner agencies in 13 counties. Kurian highlights how the recent run on grocery stores, linked with other factors, has affected food banks.

"A decline in retail donations has been coupled with a decline in volunteers, especially among the elderly," said Kurian. "When there isn't as much food on the shelves, obviously there won't be as much food to donate."

Her statement reflected on national trends, as Kurian clarified that their network has not yet seen retail donations decline. "The fact is that people desperately need food, and that need has only grown with people out of work," she added.

Current evidence indicates people age 60 and over face the highest risks from COVID-19.

"It's even scarier for our older population, who may not be going out to the store," she said. "They may not know how to order groceries online. This factors into our mission of feeding people"... Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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