Second Harvest Food Bank sees meal distribution double during coronavirus pandemic

Served 368,000 meals in one day

ORLANDO, Fla. – The need for groceries and food isn't slowing down anytime soon and that's putting a strain on places like Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, processing record numbers when it comes to handing out food needed in the community.

Gregg Higgerson is the Chief Development Officer at Second Harvest Food Bank.

"We're distributing food at a rate we've never seen before," he said.

Higgerson told News 6 that a normal day usually means processing 150,000 meals.

"Just yesterday, [we handled] 368,000 meals in one day," Higgerson said. "It's more than double right now. A lot of people are having a hard time out there."

Cynthia Barnes signed up as a volunteer, after being furloughed from her job.

"I'm grateful to be of service," she said. "I'm on furlough this week, so we'll see what next week brings. Like everybody else, we'll see if I get unemployment or if I'm going to back to work next week, we'll just play it week by week and see what happens."

Higgerson said corporate donors have kept the stream of food coming in, but that's not the problem; It's paying for all of it.

"It's going to cost us a few million dollars over and above our normal budget to make this happen over the next 10 weeks," he said. "And the extent that people can help, we really need that."

On top of that, Second Harvest Food Bank leaders said they normally work with 550 organizations throughout Central Florida to help distribute food, but already they've seen about 70 of their partners close over coronavirus concerns.

A Coronavirus Disaster Relief account has been set up, and you can donate here.

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