Food banks see decline in donations as shoppers clear grocery stores shelves

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
(Meredith Image/CBS46)

Empty shelves at the stores are turning into the new normal. And in these uncertain times, food banks are experiencing a greater need.

The Harry Chapin food bank works hard to maintain its supply while continuing to feed families.

Harry Chapin Food Bank President and CEO Richard LeBer said, even before the coronavirus hit “we were feeding about 28,000 families every week. With the coronavirus hitting, we expect the number may increase.””

He explains that they normally see between 60,000 to 70,000 pounds of food a week from retailers but, right now, with the stores being cleaned out by everybody in the community, they’re seeing 10 to 20% of that.

That’s a significant cut from retail store donations, as shoppers strip shelves clean.

In a time when people may be at home sick, lose hours at work, or even lose their jobs, Le Ber adds, “We’re here, we are looking for assistance, donations, volunteers, and we’d really like it if people in the stores would just think about their neighbors and stop hoarding because unfortunately, that is affecting our availability of food.”

In the meantime, take only what you need, to help a neighbor in need.

For more information on Florida’s food banks; to locate one near you or to donate visit

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