Food pantries have existed for some time serving those dealing with food scarcity and hunger issues. Since COVID-19 has resulted in many workplaces closing and the loss of countless jobs, food pantries are grappling with rising numbers of clients as well as the need for greater financial and in-kind support.
Some 13.7 million households experienced food insecurity during 2019, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, food insecurity more than doubled as a result of the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, hitting as many as 23 percent of households earlier this year, according to an estimate by Northwestern University researchers.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank reports that since the pandemic hit, it’s experienced a 300-percent increase in inquiries from people seeking food assistance and is distributing 30 to 40 percent more food each week.
Across DeKalb County, food pantries officials and volunteers are trying to meet the needs of those finding it difficult to keep food on their tables.
The Clarkston Community Center’s (CCC) food pantry served approximately 120 families a month in January 2020. That number has risen to 400 to 500 families a month now, according to Amber McCorkle, director of education programs at the center.
CCC switched to a drive-through model for its twice-a-month food distributions and under special arrangements some distributions are made to families during the week. She said CCC’s food pantry clientele has changed from a largely refugee population to “people who never frequented a food pantry before.”
Donations, grants and partnerships with entities such as DeKalb County government are how CCC keeps its pantry running.
McCorkle said among items most needed are: diapers, wipes, dry beans, can beans, rice, can meats, pasta, flour, cereal and cooking oil.
Friends of St. Martin de Porres – Food Outreach Ministry Holy Cross Catholic
3773 Chamblee Tucker Road, Chamblee
This ministry operates a large food pantry, feeds families in crisis, the homeless, and provides nutritious food items to school children in need. The pantry is open Tuesday through Friday 9 to 11:45 a.m. Gregg Watson, acting director of the pantry, said they are currently well stocked with food—having recently ordered 30,000 pounds—however, they are in desperate need of more volunteers. “We have a lot of volunteers on Tuesdays but are shy of volunteers on Wednesdays and now have only one person on Friday,” said Watson. “We can open up one more day and serve more people [with more volunteers].” He estimates that the pantry serves 550 to 600 families a month. Prospective clients are asked to bring photo identification.
God’s Faith Pavilion
2230 Lithonia Industrial Boulevard, Lithonia
Pavilion’s food pantry and clothes closet is open on the second and fourth Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No pre-registration or paperwork required. Winsome Nelson, pastor of God’s Faith Pavilion, said the pantry serves about 59 families on Saturdays—a significant increase compared to previously. “We have been running this pantry since 2016,” said Nelson. “Right now, we have seen a lot more people that’s coming. They are really in need.” Among the pantry’s needs: canned food, rice, sugar, oil, flour and meat. They are also seeking a truck as grocery runs cost them $150 per trip for a rental vehicle, she added. “We want to be a blessing as long as we are able.”
Community Assistance Center
5 Dunwoody Park South, Building 5, Suite 113, Dunwoody
Open for food pickup Mondays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Appointments required for assistance. “Your donations allow the CAC’s Food Pantry to provide food to more than 600 families a month, and many come weekly,” states the center’s website. Among the pantry needs: rice, macaroni and cheese, canned pasta meals, canned vegetables, meat entrees such as canned chili and beef stew, meal helpers, small bottles of cooking oil, juice and milk boxes, baking mixes such as muffin and biscuits.
6200 Memorial Drive,
Food pantry is open Fridays through Sunday 3 to 6 p.m. ICNA provides social services across the U.S. to the underprivileged and those affected by natural disasters. Previously the organization was serving about 35 families a day, however since COVID-19 that number has jumped to 55 families a day, according to a representative. ICNA Relief seeks monetary and food donations such as canned foods, sugar, oil, salt, flour and macaroni and cheese.
St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church
2560 Tilson Road
Canned goods, fruits, bags of groceries and other food assistance is available for seniors and low-income families.
Article Courtesy By: The Champion