BRYAN, Texas — Nearly 17 million people have filed for unemployment in the united states since the coronavirus outbreak. With less income, people may face shortages in daily necessities including groceries.
Just like other essential businesses during this time, food banks and pantries have had to adjust quickly to the changing demands and supply of food and employees available to them right now.
But, they want to remind you that they are open and will continue to do their best to help those in need.
“If there’s one anxiety that we can take from folks, if you can know where your next meal is coming from, that’s all worth it," said Brazos Valley Food Bank executive director, Theresa Mangapora.
The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a higher need for the local food bank, but the bank is currently facing interruptions in the supply chain.
“The supply chain was going to be clogged. We’re so used to there being another truck coming with supplies and supplies. The fact that this is a pandemic that is not only affecting texas or southeast texas like a lot of the hurricanes and things like that, this is impacting everyone. We’re all in the back of our minds worrying in a sense that we never have before, like what happened if we don’t have anymore food, what will we do?" said Mangapora.
Even with limited staff and food supply, the food bank wants to make sure everyone is fed.
One local food pantry that gets most of its supplies from the food bank is the Brazos Church Pantry.
“We’ve also seen an increase in the number of clients that we’re seeing. We’ve seen a pretty dramatic increase in the number of new clients, and we’ve seen a decrease in our volunteers, and our food donations have been down from our churches because they have not been meeting in person," said Brazos Church Pantry president, Tom McDougal.
The food pantry is working with the food bank to increase its order size to accommodate the growing number of clients. All exchanges are curbside or done in the parking lot.
“For a lot of people out there, trying to live off of savings is not feasible," said Mangapora. "A lot depends on how things shape up, so we’re in it for the long haul. The main way for people to help is monetary donations and the safest way is either to send it through mail or our PO Box 74, Bryan, TX, or you can easily donate online."
Most agencies in the Brazos Valley are still continuing their food services during this time.
The food bank is screening staff and volunteers and providing them with many masks and gloves to ensure the safety for everyone. To find out about modified hours and services of the pantries around the Brazos Valley, visit https://www.bvfb.org/covid-19-food-assistance.