Coronavirus: Local food banks, churches seeing longer lines of families in need

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The assembly line of volunteers at the Central California Food Bank is busy stuffing bags to fill bellies. CEO Andy Souza said the COVID-19 crisis is the worst he's seen in the past decade.

"We're talking with folks and it's literally a month ago, they would've never dreamed they would need a food bank," Souza said. "Unfortunately, there's a lot of folks that need us that are still not coming out that are finding other ways to do it."

Shelves at the food bank that are empty now were stocked full two weeks ago.

The shelter in place order and shutdown of certain industries, like the service sector, has created an immediate influx.

As the emergency order has been extended, it's causing food banks to run short.

"It's intended to be supplemental but you can imagine as this goes further and further along, we're probably going to be increasing the amount of food that we're putting in those bags because this is not going to end next week," Souza said. "Unfortunately, this is at least a couple of months, if not longer."

The sudden job loss and financial crisis were obvious at a food distribution Wednesday at a Central Fresno church. The line was twice as long.

With rent also due, Pastor Justin Aguilar said many are feeling the stress.

"We don't just preach the gospel by telling people, but it is our actions that really count, so we have opened up our doors to help as much as we can in this time of need," Aguilar said.

There's more than financial donations needed to restock the shelves at the food bank. Healthy volunteers are also needed to create hundreds of food bags.

The food bags distributed throughout the valley provide enough food to feed a family of four for about two to three days. Fresh produce is also included.

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