JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There has always been a need to feed the hungry in the Jacksonville community, and Feeding Northeast Florida has kept that as the organization’s focus.
But to say that it’s operating in a whole new world wouldn’t be an understatement.
“To simply say everything is different, it really is," said Sarah Dobson with Feeding Northeast Florida.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the organization, which is part of Feeding America, has changed the way it operates.
“That’s everything from how we work with our volunteers and how they help us package food and the warehouse to the large reduction in food donations," Dobson said.
Typically, Feeding Northeast Florida receives donations from food distributors and grocery store chains, but because of panic buying and the resulting disruption to supply chains, those donations haven’t been coming in the same quantity.
There are also more people who are now in need. With unemployment numbers skyrocketing, the number of people struggling to feed themselves and their families is rising.
“So those people are now turning to us in their time of need as well, and unfortunately, with record numbers of folks filing for unemployment, we know that this need is going to continue to grow, and unfortunately, stay with us for quite some time," Dobson said.
The organization said money is what helps most right now. Until the supply chains return to normal, it will have to purchase so some the food it distributes to those in need.