Food banks compare number of families helped at the start of the pandemic to now

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — There was panic at the start of the pandemic brought on by so many lost jobs and food insecurity. Executive director Kim Phillips noticed it at the North Gwinnett Co-Op. “We just had this huge uptick in the number of people that we serve.”

The number of families served per day surged from 30 to 100 families daily at the Buford food bank. It has now eased to a new normal a year later, providing food and toiletries to about 45 families daily.

“In 2020, we were just shy of 546,000 pounds. So it’s more than three times the amount of food we distributed in 2020 than we did in 2019,” Phillips said.

Earlier this month, we reported on a food drive at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Henry County, where food boxes for 2,000 families were distributed by the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

“We’re continuing to operate at just record-breaking levels,” said Kyle Waide, the ACFB CEO. In 2020, it distributed 115 million pounds of food and helped an estimated 1 million people in the 29 counties they serve. “That’s enough to provide about 95 million meals to people in need across our community,” Waide said. He also explained how every dollar donated is turned into four meals.

TRENDING STORIES

It’s the donors, or “Army of Angels” as Phillips calls them, that keeps them serving. “Some of our families that we helped through COVID who are now back working and have started to come and bring us some food as well. It’s their way of saying thank you,” Phillips stated.

At ACFB, October 2020 showed the most need, followed by March and April 2021. “This is going to be a marathon. We’re going to continue to need support from the community,” Waide shared.

Phillips said there is always a need for toiletries and hygiene products — items that cannot be purchased with food stamps.

If you’d like to help, we’ve put a link to both food banks on wsbtv.com under Links Mentioned on 2.