Area food pantries stretched thin, will stay open during stay-at-home order

Food pantries across Mecklenburg County will stay open throughout the stay at home order, which starts at 8 a.m. Thursday. Many pantries are now supporting double normal demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside the Loaves & Fishes West Charlotte warehouse food is being moved and sorted every minute.

"We are in emergency mode now,” said Loaves & Fishes Executive Director, Tina Postel.

Loaves & Fishes is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In one week they served more than 2,200 people which is more than double the amount of people they normally serve.

"We have been frantically trying to feed as many people as possible,” said Postel.

The increase comes at a time when the volunteer pool is down. Normally the West Charlotte warehouse would be filled with 50 people. On Wednesday it was filled with 10 people or less. Volunteers were also spread apart for safety.

"We've really had to change our entire operation in order to keep feeding people,” said Postel.

Those being fed will pick up a -day supply of food in a pre-packed box. Normally people would be allowed to grab a shopping cart and pick out what they need, but that also has been put on a temporary hold until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

"We have people gainfully employed with good jobs who are temporarily laid off and now they are struggling with how do I feed my family,” said Postel.

The extra demand is on top of those already struggling before the pandemic hit. Empty store shelves forced those living paycheck to paycheck to go without needed supplies.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic Loaves & Fishes staff are still looking for volunteers. All they ask is that you're healthy and in a low-risk category for COVID-19.

There is also an extreme need for monetary donations. Click here to see how you can help get results.