The most frequent questions I am asked by members of the public are: “what is the current need for food in our community?” Or: “how many people have been coming to the pantry recently?” Or it’ll come in the form of a statement, “I’m glad to see the lines for food at the pantry are much shorter now. The amount of food insecurity in our community must have decreased.”
The truth is that the need has not decreased. In the first three months of 2021, Care for Real has experienced a 57% increase in visits to the pantry for food compared to the same time period in 2020. Families have received free food 12,886 times from January to March. So while the lines look shorter, it is because we created a more efficient food distribution operation which has decreased wait times while also increasing capacity. In essence, we now serve more people in shorter amounts in time.
57% more visits to the food pantry – in the middle of winter!
With April being Volunteer Appreciation Month, I must express my gratitude to the 200 volunteers who contributed 5700 hours of service during the first quarter of 2021. Our dedicated volunteers are the greatest asset to our community, as we could not have met this increased demand for food without them. From sorting food, to packing bags of groceries, to registering pantry guests, to helping guests load their carts, our volunteers are the backbone of our operation as our small staff could not do this alone.
Thank you, Volunteers, for helping Care for Real meet the 57% increase in need this year!