Harvest photo

The Missouri Department of Social Services announced last week that they will be dividing $1.5 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund among Missouri’s six regional food banks.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) created the Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to government agencies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release Scott Baker State Director, Feeding Missouri expressed that food banks need help now more than ever during the pandemic.

“This pandemic has hit food banks on multiple levels,” Baker said. “The need for emergency food is surging at the same time we are seeing donations decrease. More food must be purchased, and that increasing demand is forcing prices to skyrocket. This money will help provide millions of meals for Missourians struggling to make ends meet during this unprecedented time.”

Second Harvest Community Food Bank received $107,811 from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Second Harvest is partnered with many agencies across Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas.

Second Harvest works in 26 counties, including Atchison county, between the two states. Second Harvest Communications Coordinator Blake Haynes says this money is going to help a lot of people.

“This money is crucial,” Haynes said. “We have been fortunate to receive grants and donations from generous organizations and people. This money from the CARES Act, we say one dollar equals three meals. That means this will help serve over 300,000 meals.”

This will also help Second Harvest with their pop-up mobile distributions they have been doing during the pandemic. Will people not going out as much and some organizations being forced to close their doors for the time being, these pop-up mobile allow Second Harvest to distribute food anywhere in the area.

“We are looking into counties that we really need to put a staple into,” Haynes said. “We need to make sure everyone is getting the assistance they need.”

These pop-up mobile distributions are curb-side delivery and the customer does not even need to get out of their vehicle. Volunteers with gloves and facemasks will place the food into the vehicle for the customer that way social distancing is still being practiced.

Second Harvest is still filling orders and providing what is needed, but during the pandemic, most of their distribution has come from pop-up mobile. Haynes says there as been a 30-40 percent increase in most communities and some have even doubled in distribution.

The next pop-up mobile in Atchison County will be on May 29 in Effingham.

While the money from the CARES Act will help a lot of people moving forward, Haynes wants to remind people help is still needed.

“This funding, it’s almost a like a double-edge sword,” Haynes said. “Our donated product is down. We just want to encourage people to give back to the community if they can. Donations and volunteers are amazing and really help during this time.”

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