Foodshare, the food bank serving Hartford and Tolland counties, says there's no letup to the number of families seeking food assistance related to the COVID-19 economic slump.
In fact, new recipients are showing up on each of the three days a week Foodshare's emergency distribution site at Rentschler Field in East Hartford is open.
So while the site is officially scheduled to stay open through the end of September, Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski says he's likely to announce by the end of this week that it will remain in place through October.
Even with the state allowing Foodshare to use the Rentschler site for free, Jakubowski says keeping it open costs about $50,000 per week. That's not sustainable, he adds, but the emergency facility must stay open for now, because the food bank's smaller facilities can't handle the demand.
"The numbers have not come down to the point where we're able to close it, yet... We need individuals to be able to go to our pantries and our mobile Foodshare programs, eventually."
According to Jakubowski, the families in up to 20% of the estimated 1,800 vehicles per day being served are seeking food assistance for the first time during the crisis.
"That tells me that they are just recently laid off, or just recently been furloughed, or their organization just recently closed. It's almost mind-blowing. We're under this impression that everything changed instantaneously in March, and it did, but for some people, they haven't been adversely economically affected until now."
You can donate money or food, or sign up to volunteer your time, at Foodshare.org