The coronavirus crisis has left many people without jobs, putting people in financially stressful situations and creating a higher demand for local food banks.
Gainesville Community Ministry Executive Director Michael Wright said the ministry has been more lenient. Typically, there is a screening to figure out someone’s financial need. However, right now the organization is being more trusting and offering assistance to everyone because they know it’s a national issue.
Wright said his main concern is that the ministry isn’t receiving as many donations.
“A lot of our donations come through churches here in Gainesville and of course churches are not meeting right now. And so, people are not coming and offerings are not being taken up like they used to be. And donations from the churches are not what they used to be,” Wright said.
Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, a non-profit organization in Gainesville, has also been busy due to more people needing help and due to their lack of staff.
Bread of the Mighty Food Bank Agency Director Sherah English said a lot has changed. The team is smaller and having to manage with fewer volunteers. In addition, Bread of the Mighty now offers drive-thru assistance, to prevent the spread of the virus.
“So, most of our pantries now, people don’t get out of the car. We walk up to the car and ask them how many are in their family. If it’s a USDA program that requires a signature, we’ve been given approval by the government to sign for them that way they’re not having to exit their cars,” English said.
English and Wright agree that it’s been a busy time for food banks, but so far, they’re achieving their main goal, which is to get food out to people as quickly as possible.