Midwest Food Bank distributing thousands of meals for families in need

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Midwest Food Bank. Photo via WINK News

Volunteers from the Southwest Florida community are letting you know they have your back in these trying times.

Forty pallets of food are now ready to go out to people in need.

“The need is there and that’s why we’re here,” said Tanya Phillips with Midwest Food Bank.

On Thursday, about 10 volunteers at Midwest Food Bank helped put together the prepackaged pallets, a new model the food bank in Lee County is using because of COVID-19.

“Typically, they would shop, but because of COVID-19, we’re building prepacked pallets and they come in and they’ll get two pallets of product to go and serve the community with,” said Executive Director Karl Steidenger.

Agencies like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and catholic charities are not allowed inside the food bank warehouse anymore.

Instead, “they pull up to the overhead door, we take the pallets out with a forklift. Most of them will bring a pickup and we can set the pallet directly in the back,” said Steindenger.

He said the spread of COVID-19 has forced his team to work a little harder to find food for their warehouse. He says Midwest Food Bank supported more than a million people last year.

So especially now, keeping their doors open is more critical than ever, even if it works a little differently.

“We’re not overly visible, you might say, but we are a vital link in the supply chain,” Steindenger said.

“People are needy,” Phillips said. “I’m getting the phone calls all day long that people are calling and asking for help.”

If you need help right now, they suggest calling United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline.

If you want to help out the Midwest Food Bank, click here.

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