Need for food assistance continues to rise in Sarasota County

Demand for food in Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota County is on their sixth week of an emergency response from the Coronavirus.

The food bank's CEO, Sandra Frank, said they have never seen such a demand for food in the food bank's history.

“We do not anticipate it lessening. In fact, as we watch the trends, the increase in the first month was 100%. This month it’s 138%, so we still think that we are climbing in terms of the need. And I don’t know if we can predict, I don’t think anyone can predict when this will plateau and start to turn back down again. I don’t think any of us know the answer to that,” said Frank.

This week All Faiths Food Bank began opening back up their volunteer opportunities. However, the food bank is still not accepting food donations from the public for sanitary purposes. Because of this, All Faiths Food Bank has had to use their own money to purchase a majority of their food.

"It's an entirely new world for food banks as well as everyone else in the country. And so we need to accommodate and shift how we do business and some of the things we've had to do is prepackage all of the food. That is so time consuming. I can't begin to describe that. And in order to make sure that the food is safe and in order to make sure that we are feeding people we have been repackaging all of this food," Frank said.

Within the past four to six weeks the food bank has repackaged about two million pounds of food.

The National Guard is stepping in to help people in Sarasota County too by hosting two upcoming mass distributions. The first one will be on May 9th at CoolToday Park in North Port and the second one will be held on May 16th at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Both will be held from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. or until food runs out. Families in need can drive up in their car and receive fresh milk, produce, and a meal kit. All the food handed out is federally funded and each mass distribution can help about 4,600 people.

For more information about where to find food in Sarasota County, click here.

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