Coronavirus News: Demand up, but supplies and volunteers lacking for NYC pantries, soup kitchens

Lauren Glassberg Image
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Inside innovative new food pantry
Lauren Glassberg interviews the founders of a food pantry adapting to social distancing to keep people fed.

BRONX (WABC) -- Some soup kitchens and pantries in the boroughs are seeing five times the demand. This is in part due to a spike in unemployment and the closing of some soup kitchens because of a lack of volunteers.

The food being given out at an outdoor pantry run by Agatha House in the Bronx is vital in the days of COVID-19.

"The line is wrapped around blocks and blocks," volunteer Winnie Parnes said. "And when I pull up and park the line is already blocks and blocks."

Parnes lives in the South Bronx. She's a freelancer who is trying to get unemployment benefits and she's volunteering through the newly launched non-profit, In It Together.

"In the past few weeks we've signed up 500 volunteers," cofounder Kasumi Quinlan said.

Quinlan is also the community manager for Lemontree, a non-profit that offers family meal kits for pick up at Brooklyn schools for just $3 a plate.

The virus is currently making that model impossible, so she helped launch In It Together to get volunteers to aid with food access issues.

"It's harder for our partner organizations with social distancing rule, and gatherings it actually takes more volunteers to do the same type work," Quinlan said.

If you're healthy and not at high-risk for developing complications due to COVID-19, then consider volunteering. In It Together will match you with an organization that's in need and close to where you live.



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