A Foodshare drive-through food bank in Hartford, Connecticut, has drawn massive lines as the economic shutdowns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic continue to ravage the American economy, leaving millions of Americans without work and unable to make ends meet.
Foodshare, a regional food bank serving residents of Hartford and Tolland counties, opened a drive-through distribution center at Rentschler Field in East Hartford to assist struggling families during the coronavirus pandemic. The site is slated to distribute food every day from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET through Friday, April 24.
According to NBC Connecticut, a line of cars formed hours before the process started on Monday. Foodshare reportedly handed out groceries to an estimated 931 families on Monday and could top 1,000 on Tuesday:
.@foodshare says they gave groceries to 931 families yesterday. They believe they’ll probably exceed 1k today.
— Caitlin Burchill (@newsyCaitlin) April 21, 2020
— Hartford Courant (@hartfordcourant) April 20, 2020
WATCH: @NBCConnecticut's DroneRanger shows us the really long lines at Rentschler Field as @Foodshare launches drive-thru food distribution in East Hartford, CT. #NBCCT Details ===>> https://t.co/7zVitLjT8T pic.twitter.com/PGBfLCUUHF
— Dan Corcoran (@DanCorcoranTV) April 20, 2020
While Foodshare has 250 pantries and dozens of mobile locations, CEO and President Jason Jakubowski said the pop-up distribution site was needed to meet demands during the pandemic. Many of the individuals showing up to the drive-through distribution centers are “first timers” who “have never had to use our services before,” Jakubowski noted.
“They’re people who just four weeks ago were gainfully employed and now through no fault of their own, have found themselves unemployed or not knowing where their next meal is coming from,” Jakubowski said, according to the outlet:
In just 4 months, he says Foodshare has already spent $200,000. That’s two-thirds of what they spent to buy food for all of last year.
The president of says because of the COVID-19 crisis, they are seeing about a 30-percent increase in the amount of food they’re distributing.
Usually most of their food is donated by the grocery stores, but that’s just not happening right now.
“The tough thing that we’ve been having since the start of this crisis is that we’ve had to purchase food. We never, we rarely, have to purchase food,” said Jakubowski.
Jakubowski said the organization intends to do its best to keep up with the increased demand for food.
“We will not close. I can guarantee that, but we are bringing in a distributing food at an amazingly rapid pace right now,” he said.
A pop-up food pantry in Southern California drew similar results, drawing a line of cars spanning a mile as organizers distributed food to 2,500 families earlier this month.