AUSTIN, Texas - The demand for food is high during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Central Texas Food Bank CEO Derrick Chubbs said they’ve seen a 30 percent increase for meals in some areas and a 300 percent increase in others.
“We have a long history of responding to emergencies and disaster but no crisis has ever strained our ability to serve those in need as much as the coronavirus pandemic,” Chubbs said.
Not only is the demand high but the supply is low. The nonprofit depends on donated food from large retailers but with empty shelves, businesses aren’t donating food. The Central Texas Food Bank has shifted its business model to rely on monetary donations. Chubbs said before the boxes of food would cost about $5 to make, now it takes about $25.
The community is stepping up to help, Al Shire who owned and operated a shuttle service at the airport has shut his business down to shelter in place. Shire is using his free time instead to strum up donations for CTXFB. He’s managed to raise more than $300 with his Facebook Live concerts.
“Feeding people is the most important thing, it keeps people happy,” Shire said. “Reach out and help somebody, just reach out and help somebody and say hey man everything is going to work out and be okay.”
CTXFB has changed the way they distribute meals by moving to mobile drive-thru sites. The nonprofit has cut down on volunteers in the warehouse. Chubbs said there are normally more than 120 people sorting supplies and now there are only 20 to a shift to increase social distancing. Other partnering agencies are in desperate need of volunteers because their usual volunteers are considered high risk.
Whether it’s donating money, supplies, or time, Chubbs said by working together, we can help feed those who need it the most during this difficult time.
The Central Texas Food Bank will have a special distribution at Nelson Field at Reagan High School on Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.
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