World Socialist Website - November 17, 2020

With the Thanksgiving holiday less than two weeks away, food banks and homeless shelters across the United States are struggling to meet the growing demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Dallas, Texas, thousands of people lined up in their cars in what has been described as the largest mobile food distribution in history. The North Texas Food Banks handed out 7,000 turkeys and 600,000 pounds of food on Saturday. Organizers said it was enough to feed 25,000 people.

The state of Washington has seen the number of people who rely on food banks double from one million to 2.2 million this year. Linda Nageotte, the CEO of Food Lifeline, told the Seattle Times that she expects that “by the end of this year one in five Washingtonians could be facing hunger.” 

The pandemic has also placed an extra burden on food bank workers, who now need to prepare and box food packages together before they can be distributed. It is labor intensive work that is even more difficult during a health crisis. In an attempt to lighten the load on food banks, the Washington National Guard has sent 550 soldiers to 26 distribution sites to help.

In Rochester, New York, the food bank Foodlink is working to feed a line of 50-100 people on any given day. The organization Dimitri House, which operates a food pantry and homeless shelter in Rochester, has had similar issues and has also decided to prepare meals ahead of time and distribute them to families for pick up.

Laurie Prizel, the executive director for Dimitri House, told ABC13 WHAM that “we’re getting a large number of working poor individuals coming through as well, not just the typical somebody on a fixed income trying to survive. It’s people who are holding down two jobs or lost their jobs. We’re saving the average family at least $100 on a Thanksgiving meal, and it’s allowing at least the families to come together.” ...
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