COLUMBUS, Ohio 9WCMH) — The Salvation Army in Central Ohio has seen a significant increase in the need for its food pantry services with a nearly 200 percent increase since March 13.
The organization has provided nearly 612,000 meals since COVID-19 began, which now exceeds their total meals provided during 2019 by about 22,000 meals.
“It’s hard to know that thousands of families, because of COVID-19, are facing job loss and hunger and poverty,” said Major Debra Ashcraft, area coordinator for The Salvation Army in Central Ohio.
It is a sobering reality for officers and volunteers at the Salvation Army to see on a daily basis.
“We’re seeing people we have never seen before come to the Salvation Army,” said Ashcraft.
In March, the Salvation Army shifted its food service operational style in order to keep families safe.
“The number one thing we’re hearing on the phone when people call is, ‘I need food,'” said Ashcraft.
The Salvation Army in Central Ohio operates seven drive-thru style food pantries.
“One location I know served 175 families in a two-hour time period,” said Ashcraft.
The pantries rely on volunteers to help distribute all the boxes of food packed and ready to go for families in need.
“To be able to keep up with that 200 percent increase in the number of people seeking food, we have to have help,” said Ashcraft.
For every $25 donation, the pantries can provide a box of food that can serve 36 meals to one family.
“This box of food will not only feed their stomach but also let them know people really care about you during this tough time,” said Ashcraft.
If you want to get involved as a volunteer or donate to the Salvation Army, click here.