Facing higher demand, food bank changes distribution venue

Posted at 10:33 PM, May 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 01:33:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — More people need the food bank now than before.

"Used to be about 9,000 clients a month, it's probably 18,000 right now."

Stay-at-home and social distancing orders have affected how many volunteers the food bank can take on, but as it's CEO, Michael McDonald explained, other groups have made their services available.

"Thankfully, we have the National Guard available and they're still working with us so we're able to serve."

Volunteers haven't been the only issue McDonald said they're adjusting to.

While food drives were the best way to collect stock, McDonald said COVID-19 precautions don't always present the most practical solution to feed people.

"We'll start doing that again, but we have to quarantine that food for about 72 hours."

Another challenge: dwindling supplies of meat and poultry.

"I worry that, as we go through the summer, that we'll see some of our supplies of meat, protein and dairy and other staples become more compromised," McDonald said.

"We haven't seen it yet, but we're actually a little anxious about that."

Which is why he said they're buying more food to donate these days.

"We had to buy a lot of truck loads of pinto beans because we couldn't find any donated pinto beans."

As for space, their distribution in Tucson will move from their main location to the Kino Sports Complex.

"We took everything that was in a building and we're doing it in a parking lot so that it's a drive-thru distribution."

Those distributions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 7a.m. and 10 a.m..