BINGHAMTON, NY – Three months into the pandemic, the need for food remains strong in our area.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier held another one of its large-scale community distributions this morning at SUNY Broome.
500 families pre-registered to receive roughly 90 pounds of fresh perishable food, enough to last them about 2 weeks.
Congressman Anthony Brindisi helped load the boxes and bags of food into people’s vehicles as he has in the past.
Brindisi says the turnout shows that the crisis has hit people hard.
“It’s quite emotional, to be honest with you. 500 people signed up for this particular event today. That shows that people are still out of work, people are still struggling. This pandemic is not over yet and we still need to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of families and workers across the community,” says Brindisi.
The food, including frozen meats, milk, and bread, comes from a variety of sources including the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program and the state’s Nourish New York initiative.
Food Bank CEO Natasha Thompson says much like grocery stores, food banks are having difficulty stocking non-perishable items like pasta, cereal and canned tuna.
“We were involved with flood relief in 2011. We saw a huge uptick in demand after the recession in 2008. But this COVID scenario is unlike anything we’ve seen in terms of demand and what we’ve had to do to get more food out to the community,” says Thompson.
Thompson says demand for food has increased by 56 percent since the start of the pandemic and that 41 percent of recipients are first-timers.
30 volunteers, many from Broome-Tioga BOCES, assisted with the giveaway.
It was the second one held at SUNY Broome, which is one of 10 sites across the Food Bank’s 6 county region.
To request food relief, go to Food Bank ST dot org to sign up.
And you can see all of Congressman Brindisi’s remarks below.