- Approximately 10,000 households showed up in their cars to receive food from a San Antonio, Texas food bank, overwhelming the organization.
- “I don’t know if we can keep up the pace that the demand is requiring,” San Antonio Food Bank CEO Eric Cooper said.
- Still, the organization said it was hoping to hold two more food distribution dates next week.
- Nationally, around 16.8 million people have applied to receive unemployment benefits in the last three weeks.
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Approximately 10,000 households showed up Thursday at a food bank in San Antonio, Texas to receive free food amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It was a rough one today,” Eric Cooper, San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper told The San Antonio Express-News. He said Thursday marked the largest single-day distribution in the nonprofit group’s four decades.
He added: “We have never executed on as large of a demand as we are now.”
About 6,000 households had pre-registered for Thursday’s food distribution at a flea market on the city’s south side, though “thousands more” showed up, causing the distribution to last from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. — four hours longer scheduled.
Food distributed included milk, beans, and fresh produce, according to the report.
Around a million pounds of food was brought in the morning to be given away, though more trucks of food had to be brought in later in the day to meet the demand. About $1.5 million worth of food was distributed by the San Antonio Food Bank on Thursday, a spokesperson for the organization told the Texas newspaper.
Some people who showed up to receive the food did not meet the organization’s qualifications to receive the handouts, according to the report. The group worked to qualify people on the spot who showed up even if they had not prequalified to receive the food.
Cooper told the Texas newspaper the food bank was considering two more food distribution days next week, on Tuesday and on Thursday, though it wasn’t sure it would have enough resources to do so without help from the “National Guard or somebody,” according to the report.
Photos captured Thursday showed cars packed together as about 10,000 families showed up to receive food
The images, captured by Express-News photographer William Luther, were circulated on Twitter.
—Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 11, 2020
—ricburton 🐚 @shellprotocol (@ricburton) April 10, 2020
“Our staff and our volunteers, I don’t know if we can keep up the pace that the demand is requiring,” Cooper said, according to Express-News.
The food bank last week filed a State of Texas Assistance Request with the Department of Emergency Management, asking for $12 million in funds to help the organization purchase food. The organization has had trouble securing enough food as grocery stores have less surplus to donate as panic buyers deplete store inventories. Some restaurants in the state have closed, also limiting the nonprofit’s supply of food, according to the report.
The food distribution on Thursday was the fourth one the organization has held since March 31. Each one has brought more people than the last, the organization said.
The distribution comes as people lose their jobs nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last three weeks, a record 16.8 million people have applied to receive unemployment benefits, according to the US Department of Labor.