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Valley food banks in need of volunteers as many face food insecurity amid pandemic

Posted at 10:29 AM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 12:29:56-05

PHOENIX — Now that the holidays are over, local food banks are in need of volunteers as many continue to face food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The holiday season usually brings plenty of volunteers for local food banks, but now that it's over, help is desperately needed.

Jerry Brown with St. Mary's Food Bank says they've seen a 50% drop in volunteers since the start of the pandemic and a 25% increase in Valley residents coming to them for food.

He says they'd usually have about 200 people on any given shift, but because of COVID-19, they now accept 50 volunteers at a time. Despite that, they only have about 25 signed up a day.

That means the volunteers are working longer hours without a break to keep up with the demand.

“Some of the long-time volunteers are doing double duty to help us out," Brown said. "Sometimes even our employees come out of their offices and put a line together to make sure we’re keeping up and we can still have that food to give out the next day."

It's a similar situation at United Food Bank, according to Vice President of External Affairs Tyson Nansel.

He says they need about 200 volunteers a week to fill thousands of bags. Right now, they're operating on about half of that.

Cynthia Sassi has been volunteering with United Food Bank for the past few months and encourages others to give it a try.

"You feel really good about it afterwards because it helps put things into perspective," Sassi said. "I think we get so caught up in our day-to-day and to be able to do this and give back to somebody maybe less fortunate than you, really kind of reminds you of how blessed you are."

To learn more about how to volunteer with United Food Bank, click here.

To learn more about how to volunteer with St. Mary's Food Bank, click here.