Hundreds of cars line up for free groceries in East Rutherford

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Long lines of cars formed in New Jersey for a food giveaway.

The event was held in East Rutherford at Meadowlands YMCA.

NewsCopter 7 was over Murray Hill parkway earlier where hundreds of drivers waited for free groceries Tuesday morning.

It was a very long wait for families, who waited for hours in a line backed up more than a mile long.

Adding to that problem was that Tuesday's food truck was four hours late.

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The demand for food and pantry items continues to be a need amid the pandemic and before the holidays.

Tuesday's food giveaway had two pick up times -- one at 9:30 a.m. that gave away dairy, meat and produce, and one in the evening which will hand out only produce.

"We started seeing each week some familiar faces, there are new people that come each week and the need has actually grown," Meadowlands YMCA CEO and President David Kisselnack said. "During this summer we were averaging between 50-70,000 a month, and now we're well over 100,000 meals a month."

The Meadowlands YMCA expected to hand out 50,000 food kits by the end of the day.

However, some families may not get supplies because there is a much greater need than is available.

Kendra Jones waited three hours Tuesday morning and left empty handed. So, she came back at night and received for only one family.

Jones was hoping to pick up food for four single-parent families as part of her foundation 'Touched by an Angel.' Now, she will have to get creative and stretch these ingredients into four boxes.

"It'll be small but something is better than nothing at all," Jones said.

As food insecurities worsen, the YMCA fears some of the families in line are now actually living in their vehicles.

Adding to the grim side effects of the pandemic, this YMCA tells us their donations are down by $5 million.

At a time when their needs are mounting, they are appealing to the public for contributions especially as the holidays near.

The gratitude here is heartwarming, but the YMCA is bracing for the hunger pains to get worse in the next few weeks.

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