Food banks and pantries across Indiana are seeing more people in need of assistance during the coronavirus crisis.
A lot of food pantries in Indiana are part of a network of food banks. The Food Bank of Northern Indiana, one of 11 regional banks, serves St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Marshall, Starke and Kosciusko counties.
Marijo Martinec, the Executive Director of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, said they've seen a 50 to 75 percent increase in need over the last three weeks.
“The need continues to be great and I suspect will become even greater.”
Martinec said the crisis is making some people food insecure for the first time.
“Those people who were either laid off or furloughed from positions, retail positions, restaurant positions in a variety of industries have asked people to stop working so new faces to hunger in our community.”
Martinec said the food bank and its network of more than 150 pantries have changed some practices to keep workers, volunteers and those needing food safe. Volunteers and workers are temperature screened and asked about symptoms.
Anyone getting food from a pantry will get a pre-packed box, instead of being able to choose items, and will likely not enter a building at all.
Martinec said donations are critical at this time of increased need. She says anyone who still has the means to donate should contact their local food bank or pantry.