‘Unprecedented need:’ San Antonio Food Bank has seen 30% increase in demand since onset of COVID-19 pandemic

Food distribution has increased at food banks across the country, AP data shows


SAN ANTONIO – You could see it in the aerial pictures of the San Antonio Food Bank’s mega distribution event in April.

Thousands of cars carrying thousands of San Antonio families were lined up at Trader’s Village, some for the first time ever, to receive food amid a fraught economic period due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But that need for food has not subsided since the onset of the pandemic, not in San Antonio or in a majority of the food banks across the country, according to data obtained by the Associated Press.

An analysis of 181 food banks in Feeding America’s national network showed that food distribution rose by an average of 48.6% in the two quarters of 2020 after the start of the pandemic. Similarly, the San Antonio Food Bank has seen a 30% increase.

“It’s a story of unprecedented need and it’s a story of how do you meet that need when the demand far outpaces supply,” said Eric Cooper, President and CEO of the food bank. “The best way we can do it is just spread it a little thinner, ration the inventory that we have to try to make sure no one goes away empty-handed and no one goes hungry.”

The San Antonio Food Bank has managed to distribute food to more families despite seeing a dip in the amount of food being donated.

“We usually pick up from the convention center restaurants, hotels, caterers ... and now those businesses are closed and those donations are not flowing to us,” Cooper said.

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