BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The Food Bank of the Southern Tier held its monthly mobile distribution site in the Binghamton Plaza yesterday, and the number of needy continues to rise.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier observed a 300% increase in distribution demand from March of 2019 to 2020.

The biggest factor being the COVID pandemic.

The President and CEO of the food bank, Natasha Thompson says that as various COVID relief resources became available, the demand slowly dropped.

Thompson says that she hadn’t seen demand increase as much as it did during COVID since the recession in 2008.

She says, especially due to the recent cancellation of additional, emergency SNAP benefits, these trends are likely to continue.

“It’s so hard to predict now because the last three years have not followed the traditional trends. So, my assumption, if I had to guess, I would assume that demand is going to continue to increase.”

Those who are registered can drive through the mobile food site, leave their trunks open, and volunteers load the food for them.

One participant says that they start lining up in their cars by 5 a.m. even though the site doesn’t open until after 8.

To find the next mobile food pantry in your area, and to register, visit the organization’s website, foodbankst.org.