KALAMAZOO, Mich. — As the pandemic stretches past nine months, the need for food assistance has increased, including here in west Michigan.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Loaves and Fishes said they've served more than 60,040 food orders.
On top of that, they're seeing more of a request for food assistance with over 1,200 new families.
"The holiday season is always very busy for us, but this whole year has been really busy for us. It is just one thing on top of another creating a storm of people who need a lot of assistance," said the Loaves and Fishes Resource Development Director Greta Fauorski.
It has been a tough year for a lot of families in the Kalamazoo area, according to Fauorski.
"We’ve seen a lot of new families. They are brand new families who have never experienced this before and did not know they would ever need food," said Fauorski.
With many kids still home from school and people without jobs, Loaves and Fishes said they're seeing a larger need for food this year.
They serve around 600 people per day through their pantry and delivery services.
"People are able to use our pantries twice a month. That increase of people who are having to use that second serve every month has definitely been there as well. We are definitely seeing people come out of the woodwork just a lot of different types of people from different walks of life, people who never thought they would be here," said Fauorski.
There's also a greater need for more donations.
Loaves and Fishes said around 75% of what they provide to families in need is based off of generosity from the community.
"There has been a lot of different expenses with this new model that we never thought that we would have. We have been pre-packing all of the food, so there is expenses like boxes, bags and things we didn’t need if people were shopping. There also has been a little bit of food supply change issues. We haven’t been able to get some food supplies at the same price we would get them, so we are getting them for a little bit more," said Fauorski.
Loaves and Fishes encourages families who need assistance to reach out. They are based off of a self-declaration of need, and there are no income requirements. Click here in you need assistance or would like to get more information.
To help with donations, you can drop them off at Loaves and Fishes or click here to give a monetary donation.