Philabundance giving in-person food drives the green light to restart

Philabundance volunteers give food to people waiting in the drive-thru line
Photo credit Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060

Officials say there is more demand for their services, but because of social distancing, they've gotten less donations and have been forced to accept fewer volunteers.

“Obviously, COVID kind of rocked the food bank and the safety net system from the moment it hit in mid-March, so we've been seeing up to a 60% increase in need across our nine counties” said Philabundance’s Samantha Retamar.

After five months, Philabundance is now giving in-person food drives the green light to restart. 

It came at the right time, Retamar added, because they receive about 1 million pounds in food drive donations every year.

“To halt that and stop taking donations and having to purchase more food has put a pretty decent strain on our resources,” Retamar said.

As they resume food drives and drop-offs, they are making some changes — they're asking people to go online and schedule their food drops, which will be contactless. 

During the time they halted in-person food drives, they ramped up their digital food drives — a program where people can make dollar donations to specific items online — which will be continued.

Retamar said that helps them stretch a dollar further than most individuals can, and even buy food products for those in need that people cannot donate.