At Cherry Hill Food Pantry, demands are up but supplies and volunteers are down

Cherry Hill Food Pantry's new location on Beechwood Avenue.
Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — With unemployment skyrocketing because of the coronavirus, the need at food banks has never been greater. But while demand is up, supplies and volunteers are down. 

At the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, executive director Janet Giordano normally sees 40 to 50 people on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the pantry opens its doors. 

This past week, she saw an additional 30 people each day. And with the stay-at-home order, there are fewer people to serve them.

"Way less volunteers. Those of us who are here are doing triple duty,” Giordano said.   

Social distancing isn't an issue because it's standard procedure for recipients to stay in their cars while pantry volunteers bring bags of food out to them. 

Giordano says her supplies of canned soup, rice and beans are OK. But she's short on milk and yogurt, completely out of bars of soap and toiletries, and she's only got some chicken left. 

"I have no meat to give out. I’m used to the stores donating meat and of course, the shelves are empty at the supermarkets,” she said. 

To compound the challenges, Giordano says renovations at the pantry's new Beechwood Avenue location are on hold because their carpenter's wife tested positive for the coronavirus. So now he's in quarantine.

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