GILBERT, AZ — As businesses open back up, Valley food bank representatives say they’re still having a hard time getting food to feed families.
Midwest Food Bank is in charge of distributing food to about 300 agencies across the Valley. But when COVID 19 hit, Executive Director Merilee Baptiste says the vendors they normally get their food from had to give it to grocery stores instead.
“We called 45 different stores and we got one store to allow us to buy one pallet of food, definitely not enough but some,” Baptiste said.
United Food Bank says they’re facing a similar problem when it comes to buying items like rice and pasta.
“Those items, we're just not able to find or purchase because they need to provide it to the store,” Tyson Nansel, with United Food Bank, said.
St. Mary’s Food Bank says they’re facing the same challenge, which is why they’re now mainly relying on food from the government.
Baptiste says the national guard is even bringing Midwest Food Bank food from out of state to keep up with the demand.
“On any given week we’ve asked the national guard to haul at least 10 semi-loads of food from California or Nevada to here to Arizona which we can then use for their food boxes,” she said.
She says it’s a reminder that as businesses open back up, people are still hungry and relying on food banks now more than ever.
“There are more agencies that have come to us saying we need your help and we’ve had to waitlist some of them until we can figure out is the food supply going to remain static or is something changing,” Baptiste said.
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