El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank last year distributed more than 30 million pounds of food across the region.

That helped feed more than 200,000 people in the community who struggled with hunger – one of three of them children.

This year, those numbers will soar as the COVID-19 pandemic has left thousands jobless or working reduced hours.

“We expect the need for food assistance to grow in the coming weeks and months,” officials said in a news release.

El Pasoans Fighting Hunger teamed up with local partner agencies to setup Mega Pantry drive-through distribution sites, giving out more than 50,000 emergency food boxes to families since March 17.

The line of cars waiting for a food box continues to grow, wrapping around buildings and extending for miles in some cases.

Families can pick up one box a week and only need to provide their name, address and the number of people living at that address.

The increased demand has also created a need for volunteers to work at the food bank, its distribution sites or to work remotely making phone calls to those who may be in need or solicit other volunteers.  

Volunteers need to be least 16 years old.

Salvation Army of El Paso

Another nonprofit that provides meals to those in need in the community is the Salvation Army of El Paso.

“We are already seeing the effects and expect that to grow significantly as this situation plays out,” Maj. Florian Estrada of The Salvation Army said in a statement.

The organization is keeping its pantry open on weekdays, and is offering packaged to-go dinners daily.

Volunteers are sought year round, but more so in this time of greater need, officials said.

The Salvation Army also provides housing and utility assistance. The organization’s Family Shelter remains open for families, single women and men.

“So many people living with extremely tight budgets aren’t able to skip just one paycheck, much less weeks or months without pay,” Estrada said. “They are turning to us for help.”

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