Will food donations be enough to keep up with demand amid ongoing pandemic?

Row of cars waits for a Feeding South Florida food distribution

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Feeding South Florida has seen a 600 percent increase in demand since the coronavirus pandemic began, leading to a concern that food donations may eventually not be enough to keep up with the demand.

In just the last three weeks, Feeding South Florida distributed over 9 million pounds of food in the quad-county area, feeding about 160,000 households.

The organization distributed 5.5 million pounds of food during the same time frame last year.

“Feeding South Florida is definitely concerned that at some point, depending on how long this pandemic drags on, that we will run out of food,” the organization’s president and CEO, Paco Velez, said.

This year, Feeding South Florida has added another 130 food distributions on top of what they normally distribute with partner agencies each week to supplement closed agency sites, schools and meal sites.

Fresh produce, protein, dairy and shelf-stable items are available at distribution sites.

Volunteers have been capped at Feeding South Florida’s warehouse due to social distancing guidelines, but the organization still needs more money to continue buying food for families in need.

Organizers say the increased need for food will likely last for some time after the pandemic, as they expect it to take families 12 to 18 months to get back on their feet.

Velez is challenging the South Florida community to #PushUpFeedingSouthFlorida. To participate, simply do 19 push-ups, donate $19 and tag 19 friends to join you.

The burden for Feeding South Florida is new for the organization. Unlike during a hurricane when they can get more essentials from elsewhere, the coronavirus crisis is a worldwide issue impacting all supply delivery routes across the U.S.

Feeding South Florida also typically sees many businesses step in with large donations during hurricanes, but with so many businesses across various industries taking a financial hit, they say large donations have not been as prominent.

Click here to learn how to get involved with Feeding South Florida or to make a donation.

By: Christina Vazquez
Originally published on April 15, 2020 by WPLG. View original article, here.

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