PORTLAND, Ore. — Food banks are picking up a rising need for nutrition assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Director Linda Schlechter said prior to the pandemic, people could enter the food bank and select items like they would at the grocery store. However, now people pull up in their cars as masked volunteers load pre-packed boxes into the trunk.
"The [number of] people we're taking care of has increased dramatically," Schlechter said, noting the economic downturn from the pandemic. "We feel good just knowing we put a smile on their face and gave them what they need right now."
Crossroads Food Bank helps feed between 1,000 to 1,300 people each week.
Many food banks are adjusting protocols to maintain safety and meet the increasing need.
Some are accepting individual food donations, while others are not. Some are also unable to take new volunteers because of space and safety concerns.
In Crossroads' case, Schlechter said her inbox is always open to people who want to help, but that it may take time to find the right role for them during the pandemic.