A look inside Harry Chapin Food Bank as food insecurity continues

Reporter: Sydney Persing Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Courtesy of Harry Chapin Food Bank

Cameras were allowed inside of Harry Chapin Food Bank for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Visitors have been banned from going inside for quite some time yet the volunteers never left. That’s because the need for food never stopped.

Juanita Alicea is one of those volunteers. “People that start crying, that ask for prayers, that are like oh my god thank you so much you don’t know how much you’ve blessed,” said Alicea.

Though we have seen COVID-19 cases decline, food insecurity continues to grow.

In the month of May 2020, Harry Chapin distributed 3.6 million pounds of food. Even with the vaccine becoming widely available and the economy rebounding, of sorts, in May of 2021, 4.6 million pounds of food were distributed.

Sarah Waltz is another volunteer. “It’s gonna probably get worse before it can get better,” said Waltz.

Barbara Evans is the chief development officer for Harry Chapin Food Bank. She discusses that not only had COVID-19 had lasting effects but now school is out, season is over and people’s hours and paychecks have been cut.

Many of the volunteers are snowbirds and they’re heading home now.

“We need volunteers now more than ever because the need hasn’t gone away and now if anything the need is intensifying because of the summer hunger,” Evans said.

The folks at Harry Chapin promise that if you give what you can, whether that be time,  food or even a donation, you will get back even more.

“Hearing everybody yell out how many boxes we’ve done, it’s very gratifying when they yell out ‘500’ or ‘600,’” Waltz said.

“Hearing over and over from different families that they now have a response to ‘mommy I’m hungry,'” said Evans.

“It makes you feel good that you’re doing something good,” Alicea said.

If you’re interested in volunteering at Harry Chapin Food Bank, you can learn more about how to do so here.

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