USA

Demand surges at Bay Area food banks due to coronavirus pandemic

California sees record amount of new coronavirus cases

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, food banks in the San Francisco Bay Area are being stretched thin. The Second Harvest food bank, which is the largest food bank in San Jose, is operating in a new normal mode as demand for free food is surging, CBS SF Bay Area reports.

Cat Cvengros, vice president of development and marketing at the food bank, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, said demand doubled in just a few weeks and isn't slowing down.

"In February we were serving about 270,000 individuals. Now we're over 500,000," she said.

Inside the food bank, it literally takes an army to package all the boxes that will be sent to people throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The National Guard stepped up when shelter-in-place nearly wiped out the food bank's volunteers.

"We lost almost all of our volunteer help, which is about 40% of our workforce," Cvengros said.

Second Harvest said the pandemic has created a large new group of people who are seeking help for the first time. And they might be needy for a long time.

"Usually a crisis is over in a matter of days. You know, you think of hurricanes, you think of wildfires. This crisis is going to last a year, maybe a year and a half. Second Harvest and all of the other Bay Area food banks, and food banks across the world, have to be here," Cvengros said.

Coronavirus cases are rising in dozens of states, including in California. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, zoos and museums have all been directed to close indoor operations again in many parts of the state amid the surge in cases. 

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