Worries Unemployment Drop Could Accelerate Demand At Food Banks

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With so many people unemployed, Bay Area food banks continue to see record demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

There's concern demand will grow as families lose their unemployment benefits.

Behind the wheel of the first car in line at the Alameda Food Bank on Ranger Ave. was Uly Lastrella, a 70-year-old who lost his job in April due to COVID-19. He said the free bags of food are getting his family through the pandemic.

"It's nice, it's good," Lastrella said. "It can help my family. Right now, I'm not working."

Alameda Food Bank Executive Director Cindy Houts told KCBS Radio families may be stocking up for the weekend when there are long lines on Friday, but she's afraid the demand for food - already up over 700% compared to last year - will be even greater with the loss of $600 a week in unemployment benefits ordered by President Donald Trump.

"Friday is definitely our biggest day," Houts said. "I think this is going to go on with us needing to serve this many people for many, many months. The concern is that we will not have the funds to do it."

She's asking for people to give, not food but cash.

With the food bank’s buying power, every $1 donated can be converted into $7.