The Community Food Bank (CFB) reports a 200% spike in the demand for food assistance compared to last year at this time. According to Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB, this increased demand is primarily attributed to the conclusion of stimulus aid.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, we thought we hit an all-time high in the need for food assistance,” explains Sprague. “However, our agencies have been experiencing tremendous increases in demand over the last few months which directly correlates to the end of additional unemployment compensation, SNAP benefits, and other monetary COVID-19 stimulus aid.”
Sprague reports that the CFB has already distributed 2,004,172 pounds of food in 2021. Last year, the agency distributed a total of 2,143,040 pounds.
“We had a record distribution in 2020,” says Sprague. “We are on target to surpass this in 2021.”
The CFB has been able to keep up with the increased demand for food assistance thanks to the generosity of businesses and individuals throughout the community. However, funds are being depleted by the increased demand and the agency needs additional donations.
“Every single donation – whether it is $25, $2500, or $25,000 – is put to good use and makes a difference,” explains Steve Ponticos, President of the CFB Board of Directors. “For every $100 donated, we provide 1000 meals. We are calling on the community to consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us get through this unexpected increase in demand for food assistance.”
The Crystal River Eagle’s Ladies Auxiliary has already stepped up to the plate by donating $1312.00. Regions Bank has donated another $5000.00 as well.
“Our staff and volunteers continue to work overtime to meet the needs of the agencies we serve,” concludes Sprague. “We have a wonderful team and will do whatever it takes to ensure no one in our community goes hungry.”