CHICAGO (CBS) — Greater than 650,000 folks have filed for unemployment in Illinois within the final six weeks. That’s 650,000 households who don’t know the place their subsequent paycheck is coming from and will not know put meals on the desk. Now native meals banks are struggling to maintain up.
Saturday morning at Northern Illinois Meals Financial institution folks lined up hours earlier than the doorways even opened. It’s simply one other signal of how making an attempt the coronavirus disaster has been on households in and round Chicago.
And it has left meals banks in catastrophe mode.
“We’re seeing folks that have by no means needed to go to a meals pantry,” stated Robert Crawford, meals pantry staff chief with the Northern Illinois Meals Financial institution.
Crawford has been volunteering for years. He says earlier than the disaster hit they have been simply beginning to see a decline.
“When COVID broke it went the precise other way,” he stated. “It’s been heartbreaking to see the necessity go up a lot.”
It has gone up a lot that Saturday morning folks have been ready for hours earlier than the meals financial institution even opened, socially distanced of their automobiles and even behind masks. Crawford stated he didn’t acknowledge half of them.
“We’re seeing individuals who have by no means needed to go to a meals pantry, $50,000 a 12 months job however residing week to week by their paycheck after which unexpectedly two weeks later they’re executed, they’re out of cash and so they need assistance,” he stated.
It’s folks of all races and all ages.
“I’ll be trustworthy, lots of people are scared,” he stated.
It’s heartbreaking for him and his volunteers to observe, however Crawford and his spouse Cindy say in a world the place a lot is out of our management, the least we will do is assist if we will.
“My spouse truly was hugging automobiles,” he stated. “She’s hugging automobiles as an alternative of individuals.”
“They don’t know the place their meals are going to come back from, however to have the pantry open and accessible for these folks, it’s a little bit little bit of aid for them at the very least for this week,” he stated.”
They served 500 hundred households Saturday. The remaining needed to be turned away. Meals banks in all places have seen a surge in demand. They’re determined for each meals donations and volunteers.
To volunteer with the Cellular Meals Pantry particularly, you’ll be able to e mail email@example.com.
Under are different web sites with donate meals or volunteer at space meals banks.