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Food bank prepares for increase in need

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Food banks are facing a spike in demand

The Food Bank of Central New York is preparing for an increase in need this holiday season.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the food bank saw unprecedented levels of need, averaging about 2 million pounds of food sent out each month. Government aid programs helped alleviate some of that.

However, now that some government support programs are winding down, and the holidays are coming up, Food Bank of Central New York Chief Development Officer Lynn Hy said food insecurity is increasing again.

"People are struggling,” said Hy. “It's people in your life. You may know them. It might be your family member. It might be your friends. It's somebody that's sitting in class with your child. It might be a co-worker. You don't know what people are facing in their daily lives and what they're struggling with."

The food bank partners with more than 400 agencies in an 11 county service area. While the holiday season is usually busy, the emergency food network is also keeping a close eye on supply chain issues.

Hy said there are enough supplies to meet the immediate need, but the food bank is ordering food now that will come in over the next three to six months. She said they’re working closely with partners to find ways to meet the community’s needs beyond the holiday season.

"We'll look at January, February, or March, and we're still going to be at one and a half million pounds of food that's going out,” said Hy. “That's a lot of food. There's a lot of need in our community."

Hy said there are many ways to help, including donating time as a volunteer, making a monetary donation, or giving food. Some of the best foods to donate include basic staple foods, like peanut butter, jelly, pasta, sauces, dinner mixes, canned goods, cereals, and macaroni and cheese.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.