SAN ANTONIO – We’re about 17 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the images of long lines at food banks are still difficult to forget. But, we are far from done.
There is still a huge need in our region, according to President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank Eric Cooper. He joined us on Leading SA on Sunday to discuss how the food bank is holding up throughout the pandemic.
“So many families are still displaced from work. At the start of the summer, we saw some good signs as vaccines were, you know, taking hold and the economy was opening up. But now with this recent spike, we’re starting to see a little more demand at the San Antonio Food Bank,” Cooper said.
The food bank has been vital to the Alamo City, but now it is planning on stepping up and helping out in response to Hurricane Ida.
“The food bank’s known for fighting that daily disaster of poverty, but when a natural disaster steps up, we step up to that, too. And so, you know, whether man-made or Mother Nature, we work with a network of food banks throughout the United States called ‘Feeding America.’ And, our sister food bank there in New Orleans is going to need a lot of support. And so we will serve as a donation destination, a staging area for food that would be shipped into the Gulf Coast,” Cooper said. “And then also if and when evacuees come into our city, we’ll partner with the American Red Cross in the city of San Antonio to do meals. So please, San Antonio, stand by. As we know, we will be called upon. And as soon as we are, we will start to respond to that need.”
The local organization is doing all they can in preparation for the storm, but it won’t be easy considering the pandemic adds more obstacles.
“It’s preparing for donations, management, so for a lot of our role, because we’re not directly into the impacted area, will be receiving food and supplies. We’ll need volunteers to help sort and box and get things ready for those distributions to those impacted by this storm... If you can volunteer in our storm response, please, we’re going to need you for the next coming days,” Cooper said.
Volunteers are always needed to help out, especially now.
“There’s just going to be a lot of demand that if, again, we’re called upon to respond to Hurricane Ida, that’s going to be this extra demand on top of our pandemic response and on top of the daily work that we do to help families that struggle in poverty,” Cooper said.
You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Cooper in the video player above.