Food banks monitor national food supply chain amid dramatic increase in need during pandemic

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD/WBTW) – Feeding America and the Farm Bureau Federation are pushing the federal government to get food supply to food banks.

Dramatically rising unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic means more people are going to food banks to feed their families.

“This is the first time ever that all food banks in the country are dealing with the same type of situation,” said Brenda Shaw, who’s the chief development officer of Lowcountry Food Bank.

Like supermarkets, some items have been very hard for food banks to keep in stock.

The problem is not a food shortage, but a change in who is buying large amounts of food. Since bulk buyers like schools and restaurants aren’t getting nearly as much food, Feeding America and the American Farm Bureau Federation are pushing the federal government to help shift supplies towards food banks.

The two organizations wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), saying a voucher system would help prevent that food from being wasted. This comes as food warehouses close or reduce production because of workers sick with the coronavirus.

Harvest Hope Food Bank and Lowcountry Food Bank say they have about six weeks of food right now… And they’re monitoring the national food supply chain.

Both food banks also say Feeding America can help local producers struggling to sell.

“We work with Feeding the Carolinas in procuring food with regional farmers,” said Brenda Shaw, Chief Development Officer with the Lowcountry Food Bank. “We know that’s going to be a challenge, but we are doing everything we can to work with them.”

Shaw says they are not getting much canned vegetables or fruit right now.

News 2 is partnering with the Lowcountry Food Bank to raise money for feeding people during the pandemic. You can click here to donate to the News 2/Lowcountry Food Bank coronavirus relief fund.

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