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​COVID-19 severely impacting food banks, grocery stores

Posted: 5:43 PM, Mar 20, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-20 23:42:47-04
Food stamp recipients told to ration food for February

PHOENIX — Outside of Saint Mary's Food Bank, the crowds just keep on coming.

Valley resident Carla Gaffney says the store shelves are nearly empty, which is why she stopped by to get food on Friday.

“I went to like three to four Family Dollars and it was a scary thing," she said. "I’m like this is really happening this is serious and I’m like, what are we supposed to do?”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has issued the National Guard to keep up with the demand, but the timeline of that effort is unclear.

“We don’t know anything about stocking supermarket shelves but we know everything about logistics," Major General Michael McGuire, Director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, said.

McGuire says about 200 of its members are currently figuring out how they'll help move supplies from warehouses to store shelves. He says right now there's no exact date on when it'll start. He says stores will first need to request assistance from their county emergency manager.

“If a county says they are short supplies at the actual stores at a greater percentage than another county, we’re going to prioritize to the greatest need," he said.

Staying safe while distributing food is also top of mind.

At Phoenix Rescue Mission's Hope for Hunger Food Bank, volunteers are unloading food items out of carts and into the cars of families in need, all while having limited contact.

"We've turned our parking lot into a drive-through," Ryan Brown, with Phoenix Rescue Mission, said.

Brown says the demand for food has doubled in the past week. He says many of their shelves are now empty and they're in desperate need of donations.

"We don't have what we used to have and we're not able to give away what we used to," Brown said.

For information on how to donate to Phoenix Rescue Mission, click here.

For information on how to volunteer with St. Mary's Food Bank, click here.