As pandemic increases food insecurity, how are area shelters preparing for holidays?


We're heading toward the end of the year, which means the holidays are on their way -- the shelters' busiest time of the year

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Valley shelters are seeing a lot more new faces this year, they’re even seeing an uptick in food orders.

We’re heading toward the end of the year, which means the holidays are on their way — the shelters’ busiest time of the year. But due to the virus, they have been on their toes all year long.

“It’s a lot of new families that never came before that kind of pushed them over with the unemployment, different things like that. They’ve been really having us scramble to try to find food,” said Chris Gilger, with the Warren Family Mission.

Last year, the Warren Family Mission gave out 8,000 food bags. This year, they’ve given out 18,000, and we’re only in October.

“I noticed there was a lot more fear in the first part of the year. We had like 900 people show up to one giveaway,” Gilger said. “We’re seeing a lot more people with kids in the car on a Friday thing especially. But you know, our numbers are like over three times the amount of normal of last year.”

With the increase in foot traffic, their Thanksgiving meal will not be in person this year.

“All delivered meals again. I think we’ll be around 2,000. Our normal meals when we have sit-down are around 3,000,” Gilger said.

Thomas Conley, president of the Greater Warren-Youngstown Urban League, said their organization has also seen new faces this year.

“Some of it’s due to evictions, people being evicted from their homes and not being able to pay their rent because their job laid them off or whatever,” Conley said.

Both non-profit organizations say they’re happy to serve their community and are thankful for the support from the Trumbull County area.

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