Local non-profits work to keep up with growing demand

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Even though Spokane County is taking the steps to re-open businesses, the demand for help to pay bills and buy food isn’t slowing down.

At the start of the pandemic, some thought the lack of employment would be short-term. Now, local organizations are doing everything they can to make sure there’s enough food and help for people who need it this summer.

Local food banks and non-profit organizations are continuing to provide for a demand from the community that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

“We’ve delivered over 75,000 meals in our community. We know that we need to keep on going, and make sure that our neighbors in need have food security through the summer,” said Representative Marcus Riccelli, founder of Spokane Food Fighters.

“Our average weekly distribution over the last four weeks, from about 500,000 pounds a week to over a million,” said Drew Meuer, chief of staff at Second Harvest.

The demand from groups like Second Harvest and Spokane Food Fighters has only grown since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We’re preparing for a new wave of really vulnerable folks to access services,” Meuer said.

People need help, and they’re more than happy to provide.

“We’ve seen pretty consistent upticks in people using our produce boxes, our food boxes, our household hot meal delivery,” Representative Riccelli said.

But they’re working to make sure they have the resources to continue helping people.

Groups, like Spokane Food Fighters, set out to help as many people as they could at the beginning of this pandemic. Their hope was that, there would come a point where the community wouldn’t need them.

We’re not there yet, so they keep working around the clock to keep up with demand.

SNAP Spokane is also working to keep up with the amount of people asking them for help.

“I think all of us didn’t expect this to go as long as it has. They may have budgeted for one month of a certain way, and now they’re realizing that the future is unforeseen,” said Nicole Bishop, SNAP Spokane.

SNAP Spokane said, now they’re dealing with more people unable to work because they have Coronavirus.

“More people calling. Saying, hey I’ve tested positive. Now I’m worried about what my family is going to do because I can’t work. We are all in quarantine,” Bishop said.

Snap wants to remind people, the pandemic is taking a toll on everyone.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

“For me, it’s heartbreaking. I see people who are clearly living out some challenging times, who will send messages, trying to justify and explain why they need help. The reality is, everyone needs help. We are here to help everybody,” Bishop said.

Organizations, including Spokane Food Fighters, are starting to lose volunteers who are going back to work or simply need a break.

They said they have a great momentum right now and they hope to keep it going.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, click HERE.

READ: Local organizations fighting hunger, helping communities