Increase in demand puts strain on finances of Dover-New Philadelphia food pantry – News – Times Reporter
DOVER A steady stream of cars drove through the parking lot of the Greater Dover-New Philadelphia grocery pantry Friday morning as volunteers handed out boxes of groceries to those in need.
In the pantry in downtown Dover, the number of people in need of food aid has soared as businesses across the area have closed due to restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Ohio.
In a normal week, the pantry serves between 750 and 800 families. It served about 900 families last week, and Sugarcreek’s Mike Finley, who serves as president of the pantry board, expects that number to pass 1,000 this week.
67,000 pounds of groceries were spent last week. This week it’s likely to be £ 80,000.
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All the food has its price.
“We’re buying a lot more groceries, and the guy buying the food has chosen to buy more expensive groceries because of the situation,” Finley said. “We feed a lot of people. We want to give them good food. Our food bill has increased. We have enough money to do this for about three months. If we don’t receive any more donations in three months, we’ll be hurt. “
He estimated the food bank would need another $ 25,000 or $ 30,000 to get through the next three months.
To worsen the situation, many churches that support the organization financially are not meeting because of the pandemic, so there are donations down there too.
“It’s a double punch,” he said. “We get less money and spend more.”
Finley said he hopes to get some grants from local organizations and foundations and the state of Ohio.
Usually people who come to the pantry on Thursday evening or Friday morning go through and pick out the items they want. The pantry stopped this to protect the health and safety of volunteers and customers.
Now people who come into the pantry drive to the door and are given a box of food. Pantry volunteers set up orange cones in the parking lot to create three lanes of traffic that keep things moving. All three lanes were full on Thursday.
“We like to do pantry of choice, give people what they want, but we don’t do that now,” said Finley. “We fill a box with high quality food and give this box to every family. We do it to be efficient and bring out as much food as possible. “
This week the pantry received two trucks full of groceries from its supplier, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. It also received a third truck filled with potato chips.
The organization always needs volunteers.
“It’s easy, just come on,” Finley said. “There is no formality. Just show up and say, “I’ll volunteer.”