KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Hunger in the Kansas City area is not a new problem, as even before the coronavirus pandemic about one in eight people did not have enough to eat.
And now, with the COVID-19 crisis, those who work to feed the hungry say it’s only getting worse. They’re working harder—dealing not only with an increase in demand, but also changes in how they can operate and the loss of volunteers, who because of their ages, are at higher risk.
The Bishop Sullivan Center in Kansas City, Missouri, used to invite guests to dine in. They’d sit down and have choices in what they ordered.
While the center is still able to provide hot food and groceries, everything is now to go. And since the pandemic, the center is seeing a lot of new faces.
“People who don’t know how to navigate the social services world are coming for the first time,” said Doug Langer, with the Bishop Sullivan Center. “Their livelihood changed overnight."
They’re doing more work, serving more people, with fewer helpers. The 380 volunteer force was pared down to just 20 in an effort to keep their senior volunteers safe and to help stop the spread of the disease.
It’s the same story across the state line. Pre-COVID 19, the food pantry at Cross-Lines in Kansas City, Kansas, served about 300 family every month. Recently, Cross-Lines served 738 people in one day.
“We are really frightened about the increase need for food,” Cross-Lines Executive Director Susila Jones said. “More and more people are going to need food.”
The need has also grown at the Jewish Family Services Food Pantry in Overland Park. While they currently serve about 500 families, they expect the number to grow to 900 by July.
Food pantries say as busy as they are now, they know more challenging times are ahead when stimulus and added federal benefits run out.
To learn more about how you can support these organizations working to feed people in our communities, click on the links below: