Prior to the pandemic, Las Vegas’ Three Square Food Bank was handing out roughly 1 million pounds of food a week. Now that number has risen to 1.3 million pounds of food.
That’s according to Larry Scott, chief operating officer, who also said the lines at the company’s 21 sales locations can sometimes grow up to six miles.
And those lines show how widespread the effects were, he said.
“If you just drove past this line, you would absolutely see that the cars are representative of many different economic classes,” said Scott. “It was absolutely effective on all economic levels.”
Despite the demand, Scott “rarely” said that no one was unable to get the food they needed.
Food banks everywhere are seeing demand grow by 40 percent, according to Feeding America.
Scott said that while the amount of food donated has not decreased, demand has increased and volunteers are more difficult to find.
In fact, the agency stopped distributing food to 170 partners because so many volunteers in these organizations had resigned that they could not be properly filled.
Despite these concerns, Scott doesn’t worry about whether the people who need it have enough to eat or run out of funds.
“The community has been extremely generous,” he said, “I firmly believe that even if the population of unsafe food grows significantly, the community will reinforce it and fund it accordingly.”
His bigger concern is to organize some of the agency’s food packaging while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Scott believes that Three Square “will always be creative” as it accomplishes its mission.
The grocery bank sources groceries from federal merchandise and wholesalers such as Walmart and Kraft. It also buys groceries and rescues groceries from grocery stores.
MGM Resorts received thousands of pounds of groceries prepared but not used for banquets and conventions. Scott said it wasn’t a huge percentage of his food distribution, but it was high quality food that would be missed.