St. Matthew’s House CEO says food insecurity due to pandemic likely to last another 2-3 years

Reporter: Sydney Persing

The need for food right now is overwhelming. People have been lining up, waiting to get food to feed their families.

St. Matthew’s House is working to get the word out about a new location, which is already seeing long lines.

Their CEO, Vann Ellison, says with so many people in so much debt, the cars will keep coming in and the need for help will keep going up.

It’s not much, but for out-of-work handyman Mark, his navy blue e-series is a place to call home.

“I want to think of it as an RV and, you know, camping,” he said. “It’s not as bad as folks, I guess, staying in the woods.”

He lost his place in February and thought he’d make enough to make it out of the van but, “there wasn’t any work anymore because of the virus,” he said.

Now, his time in the van, in line for food to keep him full, is indefinite.

“You can only live like this for a certain period of time,” he said.

Just a couple dozen tires down from his van, others are dealing with the same uncertainty, same hunger and the same pain.

“This is the first time in my life I come for help because, always, we support ourselves,” said Benjamin Ramis.

But on Tuesday, he lined up with a couple of hundred others, thankful for the help.

“Right now, we’re doing okay because everyone’s looking at this,” Ellison said. “When life returns to normal for most of us and we’re out at restaurants and traveling as we want, that’s when it’s going to be hard for people to remember what’s going on.”

He believes the need is so deep, people will wait in these lines for the next two to three years.

So Mark holds on to what he’s got – a meal and his family.

“They’re okay, I don’t park in the sun, I find a shaded place to park,” he says, because with so much need, and so much unknown, “just try to take it one day at a time, there’s nothing else you can do right now.”

It’s hard to think of families wondering where their next meal will come from for the next two to three years.

St. Matthew’s House says they’re giving away what they get each week, so if you can help them with a cash donation, you’ll be helping a neighbor in need.

For more information about St. Matthew’s House and how you can donate, click here.

For a list of mobile food pantry locations and times, click here.

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