Feeding America's donated food inventory dips low amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 11:45 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 14:16:53-04

MILWAUKEE — A drop in the number of food drives and increased demand at grocery stories are two reasons why Feeding America is facing new challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The nonprofit organization helps provide food for nearly 200 programs throughout eastern Wisconsin, but there has been a drop in the amount of donated food in recent weeks.

"A lot of the food that we get donated is food from grocery stores and they have less to give," said Scott Marshall, Director of Development and Communications for Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin.

Marshall said because grocery stores are meeting an increased demand for their customers, less food can be donated to Feeding America.
That means Feeding America must purchase large truckloads of fresh food in order to meet demand at local food pantries.

"The problem with that is that its much more expensive than donated food," said Marshall.

That's why feeding America is asking you to make a monetary donation at FeedingAmericaWI.Org.

Another challenge Feeding America is facing today is the lower number of volunteers.

More people are staying home and the warehouse must follow strict social distancing rules that limit how many volunteers can help out per shift.

"People need help. So, I’m just helping," said 66-year-old Paul Oman, who has volunteered daily for the past week and a half.

He sorts fresh food as it is unloaded into the warehouse.

"I wash my hands all the time, I always wear gloves while I’m here," said Oman.

Teams of volunteers and staff members are wearing protective gear and following the CDC's social distancing guidelines.

Feeding America has also implemented new "no-contact" rules, which keeps people on the outside of the warehouse, who could be carrying coronavirus, away from both the food and the people inside the warehouse.

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