Washington state’s food banks are suffering from a lack of volunteers.
The University District Food Bank in Seattle, according to executive director Joe Gruber, depends on around 300 volunteers each week to keep things running. However, their normal volunteer base has been getting out and traveling more than in previous years as concerns over COVID-19 have subsided this summer.
Gruber noted that the scarcity occurs at a bad time because they are seeing 50% more patients in 2023 than 2022, which is busier than at any other moment during the epidemic. He agreed that a number of factors have come together to raise the requirement.
According to Gruber, people have been affected by inflation over the past few years, and an erosion of some of the increased benefits, like SNAP, which received some additional funding.
Food Insecurity Increases as SNAP Boost Ends, Food Bank Relies on Students for Help
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s surge in funding during the pandemic came to an end in March. According to a recent study, when the boost halted, food inadequacy increased by 21% for SNAP recipients.
Gruber stressed that the food bank’s other operations, like its home delivery service, are also suffering from the shortage of volunteers. He also mentioned that food donations had decreased by 10% to 15%, which means they now need to purchase more food.
Every year, they hold a fundraising auction in which the aim is to raise $250,000 to $300,000.
Gruber observed that, thankfully for his food bank, surrounding University of Washington students offer their help.
They have given effort, their full attention and support. Hopefully, starting in the fall, we’ll have access to a resource which not every food bank will have: a sizable pool of enthusiastic and involved students, says Gruber.
Source: Public News Service