ASHLAND, Ore -- There is still a great need for food assistance in our area. More than ever, people are relying on food banks to feed themselves or their families.
The Klamath Lake County Food Bank is seeing an increase of 70 percent compared to last April. "Thanks to this awesome community and Oregon Food Bank, we were able to take care of that need very quickly." said Niki Sampson. She is the Director of Klamath Lake County Food Bank.
The Siskiyou Community Food Bank is seeing a 50 to 70 percent increased compared to six months ago. "We did see new people that have never been here before." said Laura Leach. She is the Executive Director of Siskiyou Community Food Bank.
On a normal week, Access would give out a 1,000 boxes of food. The food bank says it fluctuates, but it is seeing an average of 800 more boxes. "We've got it down. We've got food coming in, we've got food coming out and we have people getting fed." said Marcee Champion. She is the Food Program Director at Access.
The Ashland Emergency Food Bank is actually seeing a 10 percent decrease. "So we haven't been able to put a finger on it yet." said Ray Hatcher. He is the interim Executive Director at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.
Most of these food banks had to change their whole process. "The biggest change is that people are getting food boxes right now and that is a safety issue." said Champion. "It took us one day, March 16th, to go from pre-COVID to post-COVID." said Hatcher. Access and the Ashland Emergency Food Bank are now having volunteers pack boxes of food. Before, people could go in and pick out their own food.
"We are going to be able to start holding food drives and taking precautions when it gets into the warehouse." said Sampson. Now that restrictions have loosened, food drives can start happening. This will help feed the increasing number of people our local food banks are seeing during this pandemic.