Coronavirus: Local food banks making extra efforts to support families

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Poverello House has seen a surge in the number of people and families needing a meal. A missed paycheck can make a big difference .

CEO Zach Darrah explained, "The last week of the month is always hard for our families, even if they're receiving support for food. That only really lasts three weeks of the month."

Darrah said workers at Poverello have been filling thousands of emergency food bags. They'll be distributed to families and to areas where food drop offs have been suspended to protect volunteers from possible COVID-19 exposure.

He said, "Right now these are going out to rural communities, such as Selma and Sanger. Right here last week, we did 250 food bags in partnership with the CDC and El Dorado Park neighborhood."

Darrah added that Poverello has served 3,000 more meals in March alone. It moved the eating area outside to be able to serve more people.

The Central California Food Bank also reports a large increase in families needing assistance.

CEO Andy Souza said, "What we're seeing is the need has sky-rocketed. Literally many places are seeing twice as many people as before, and also what we're dealing with is how do we take a bulk distribution process and fine tune it to serve pockets of people are are shut-in and don't have access to our locations."

Retailers have often donated sacks of rice and beans to the food bank and Poverello House. But not right now because so many families have been stocking up on those items at stores.
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