As pandemic stretches on, Minnesota food programs respond to increased demand

One of the effects of the crisis we’re in right now is hunger. Between the layoffs, the stay home orders, and the school closings, more families are struggling with food.

With that, many of the food programs are experiencing a big demand, especially this week.

At Brooklyn United Methodist Church, the free meals don’t stop and this week and neither does the need.

"We’re at the end of the month when we typically see more people where money is running out," explained Cathy Maes with Loaves and Fishes.

Volunteers with Loaves and Fishes have moved to a meals-to-go model to keep up with safety and increasing demand.

“You know, Tim, we normally serve 3,500 meals a day," she said. "We’re now running at 10,000 to 12,000."

"It tells me that people are really hurting,” she continued. "It also I think informs our work that because we’re doing the to-go model that the anonymity is very welcome where people don’t want others to know that they need food.”

"When you come here and you need food, we give it to you," added Maes.

It’s not just meals. The West African Family and Community Services Food Pantry sees high demand. They too are located at the Brooklyn United Methodist Church.

“And we used to serve about 40 families a week," said Edmund Ocansey of West African Family and Community Services Food Pantry. "Now we have like 80 families coming here a week."

And most of them are households of three to five people. Whether it’s the pantry items or Loaves and Fishes’ hot meals, increased demand does not mean supplies will run short.

"I am told we will not run out of food by our director of operations and he is really tenacious," said Maes.