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Food shelves feel the impact of the pandemic: They are here to help you

Volunteers at the Bertha Community Food Shelf stocked the freezer after a trailer of food arrived. Many food shelves are seeing an increase in need due to the pandemic.

by Trinity Gruenberg

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, food shelves are feeling the impact. Many families are struggling with lost jobs or reduced wages, and food shelf visits have increased.

Verndale Area Food Shelf

The Verndale Area Food Shelf was established seven years ago with Deb Nelson as director.

Typically, they distribute about 4000 pounds of food per month. Since the pandemic began, they have seen new families coming in and more seniors, ranging from about 55-65 years of age. They are now distributing about 4500-6000 pounds of food per month.

Nelson shared her concerns with the upcoming holidays. During the winter months, they see a decrease in donations and the need is still there.

“People are being laid off and have tight budgets,” noted Nelson.

They are an income-based food shelf, but that changed when COVID hit and the threshold greatly increased which allowed most of Verndale area families to qualify.

In previous years they handed out Thanksgiving boxes and Christmas bags. They were unable to get any turkeys this year. They have been distributing chicken. For Christmas, it will be hams until they are gone and then they will substitute other meats.

With fundraising events such as Thanksgathering being canceled this year, donations are down.

“In many ways, the giving is down across the board because people aren’t employed,” said Nelson.

They are limiting the number of people who can be inside the food shelf at a time. People have to either wear gloves or sanitize their hands before they can enter. . .


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