Food bank president predicts need will persist for 18 months

Food bank president predicts need will persist for 18 months

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Second Harvest Food Bank President, Natalie Jayroe, predicts there will be long lines with people waiting for food, for at least 18 months.

"That situation is not going back to normal at the end of May or the end of June," said Jayroe.

Jayroe bases her prediction from what she says she’s seeing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talking with Feeding America, and looking at the current state of the economy.

"While we know it's acute now, we have to be in a position to keep responding in July, August, and September where we know the economy is not going to be back in a normal kind of condition," she said.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Second Harvest and other food banks have seen the demand increase. Jayroe says they’re also seeing a strained supply chain.

“At one point, we were within two or three days of actually running out of food,” said Jayroe.

In previous years, Jayroe says if they were in this situation, they would reach out to food banks in the region. This isn’t a request they can make.

“Everyone in the country is in the same position, so there’s no paying back,” Jayroe said. “Or, there’s no help from coming from other places, we have to take care of this ourselves.”

Jayroe says they have been relying more on farmers.

“[They} were no longer going to restaurants or hospitality industry or schools because they weren’t open,” she said. “That’s why you’ll see a lot of our distributions a lot of fresh produce, meat, dairy."

With so much uncertainty ahead, Jayroe says, her team and volunteers will produce 10,000 meals a day for as long as there is a need.

“It’s going to take a while for this distribution to ease off, we do not expect to take our foot off the gas anytime soon,” Jayroe said

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.