Unprecedented demand at food banks

By Ben Garbarek  - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Employees at the Central Virginia Food Bank in Richmond say there are still many people out of work and in need of help. The food bank says it's currently giving out seventy thousand pounds of food each day and still demand keeps climbing.

Volunteers spent Tuesday afternoon restocking shelves at the Central Virginia Food Bank. Fay Lohr is in charge of the food bank and says this food will be gone in a matter of days.

"If you had been here Saturday afternoon the shelves were empty. It was so frightening," she said.

Food banks all over Richmond say they're seeing huge spikes in the number of people in need of help putting food on the table.

"We have just been bombarded. We keep waiting for a let-up and we're not seeing it," said Lohr.

Jason Helmlinger says the food pantry at the Richmond Outreach Center is no different. He says they're feeding two and a half times the number of people now than they were a year ago. He says it's not just the homeless and poor that are now in need.

"We're actually seeing people that had jobs at sixty to seventy thousand dollars a year that had been laid off and are now coming through to receive help. They're in need of food because now they're trying to decide whether they should pay their bills or feed their families," Helmlinger stated.

Others say the small improvements in the economy haven't quite trickled down to many people locally.

"I hear the economy is doing a little better and I see little implications of it but for the people we're seeing, it's not getting better. There are just not the jobs out there. Some people are still being laid off," said Lohr.

Each week sixteen thousand people get food from the food bank. Overall the food bank is giving out over twenty percent more food than it did last year.

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