Food banks seeing less need from community
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Food insecurity has been one of the biggest struggles for Michiana residents since the start of the pandemic, but as more people get back to work and access to federal funding like stimulus checks have been sent out the hunger crisis is starting to normalize to pre-pandemic levels.
Over the past year food banks have seen an uptick in visitors across Michiana, but Sue Zumbrun, Director of Missions at Clay Church, says they’ve seen a significant drop in need. Going from feeding 125 families to 80 within the last few weeks.
“We really believe that it’s the stimulus and tax returns and unemployment and that’s a fantastic thing because people are able to support themselves, but we always want them to know that we’re here to help in any way that we can," said Zumbrun.
As more jobs continue to open back up more people are returning to work, but the latest stimulus bill did not require unemployment to count towards income levels for those looking to apply for food stamps making access much easier for those struggling.
“There’s pockets throughout the city that don’t have food banks or they’re small food banks and so because we’ve been slow here at clay our objective is for them to take the food we have to them," said Zumbrun.
Making sure everyone in the community has their needs met has been the goal for food banks across Michiana and while need is starting to decrease they aren’t expecting it to disappear entirely.
“The pandemic is gonna affect our community for months to come. I think the normalization will take some time so I believe we’ll see some consistency for folks coming in to our food pantry," said Constantino, Director of Development at Casa de la Amistad.
Constantino says this consistency will still be open even for those who have gotten a chance to go back to work.
“We certainly welcome them to continue to come to the pantry because then you can maybe save a trip to the grocery story and allocate those dollars in a different way," said Constantino.
Both pantries do still have COVID protocols in place and will continue to offer their services to anyone in need.