Food Bank of South Jersey sees increase in need during pandemic, served 95K last month
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a financial impact on many New Jersey families. The Food Bank of South Jersey says that it served 95,000 people last month.
“It’s been a rough couple of months,” says Jonathan Cottel, of Willingboro.
Cottel says that the pandemic has hit his family hard. He has lost family members and lost work.
“Because we’re not allowed to do indoor dining and I’m cleaning the tables and we’re still cleaning the tables, but it’s not like we’re doing a lot of business,” he says.
Cottel, like many others, is turning to the food bank for help.
“November is going to be the next record month, and it’s going to pass the old record by a lot because there’s turkeys, there’s Thanksgiving meals, there’s regular meals,” says Greg Delozier of the Food Bank of South Jersey. “Everything had to be done in larger numbers. We’re serving 95,000 a month and that’s much larger than what we normally do.”
The food bank says that more than 40% of the people who are showing up to food drives are new to the food bank, and it is because of the pandemic.
“That includes people in low and middle-skilled jobs. It includes people that have lost their job or have had their income significantly reduced and had high-skilled jobs, high-paying jobs. We see fancy cars come into the lot with people who are desperate because they don’t have any money coming in,” says Delozier.
The Food Bank of South Jersey predicts that it will see a need about 25% above normal until at least the end of 2021, making food drives even more crucial.
“Don’t be too proud to get help. Don’t be too proud of going to get handouts,” Cottel says.
“If we can help you get by for a little while while you’re in need, later on, you’ll be able to help other people come back from their need,” Delozier says.
The Food Bank of South Jersey is taking monetary donations. Officials say that just $1 can provide three meals for someone in need.