Harvesters food distribution rate increases during pandemic

13 NEWS at 10 p.m.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 9:12 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The coronavirus has disrupted many lives and added stress to people experiencing food insecurity.

The Chief Operating Officer of of an area food bank spoke to Kansas doctors this morning to share how the pandemic has affected them.

The head of Harvesters says the need for food among Kansans is clear, he says their distribution rate is 30% higher that it was just two years ago.

Harvesters Chief Operating Officer, Steven Davis says Kansans need for food is growing.

“December of 2019, we distributed about 4.6 million pounds of food,” said Davis. That’s a high amount of distribution even prior to the pandemic, but last month we distributed 6.1 million pounds of food, so that thirty percent increase gives a little context to the amount of food we’re talking about.”

Davis spoke on Monday morning’s University of Kansas Health System Briefing, he says it’s clear the pandemic has increased food insecurity in the area they serve, especially among kids.

They’re also making do with fewer volunteers.

“We’re down to less than fifty-percent of the volunteers we had pre-pandemic and a part of that is us,” said Davis. “We had to reduce the amount of people we had at a given time and we have a lot of protocols that are still in place.”

Despite the added challenges, he says harvesters is working hard to fight food insecurity.

“Our network has shifted to ensure that we can still serve people this critical need but do it in a safe way, so that looks quite different,” said Davis. “Across our service area we had to dramatically increase our mobile distributions.” “We were able to serve a lot of people at one time but try to do that so it limited contact and made it safe for those who were getting assistance and made it safe for those who are serving their community.”

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