COVID-19 Disaster Relief posing unique challenges to Midwest Food Bank
This is an unprecedented season of Disaster Relief at Midwest Food Bank. Responding to the needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is posing unique challenges.
Most states are experiencing work suspensions and quarantines, causing food insecurity. Rather than sending relief to a single disaster area, our partner, The Salvation Army, has been requesting semi-loads of family food boxes for all over the U.S. Since the first relief load was sent on March 18, a total of 15 loads have been sent to locations from Washington State to Florida, Arizona to Massachusetts, and many places in between. When the loads reach their destination, they are immediately distributed to those in need.
Simultaneously, Midwest Food Bank is limiting the number of volunteers in an effort to follow social distancing recommendations. Rather than hundreds of volunteers filling family food boxes, groups of 10-20 are a common sight. Occasionally, we will have individuals or very small groups loading them.
Procuring the contents of the boxes has its own challenges. Initially, it was difficult to have items shipped, although that has eased somewhat, The increased need for shelf-stable food has been depleting our supplies of donated food. Leveraging our relationships with food manufacturers, Midwest Food Bank has been purchasing some products to go into the relief boxes. We have committed to send at least three loads per week for the near future.
Those who would like to help are encouraged to make a donation here. Monetary donations give MFB the flexibility to quickly and effectively provide relief. On behalf of those we serve, thank you.
To read more about MFB's Disaster Relief program, click here.