It takes a lot of volunteers to pack all the food but they are still trying to limit the amount of potential exposure by closing off the inside of the building from the public and having just one volunteer load the cars that come by for the distribution.
Along with packing food for families in need, they over another service of packing weekend bags for students that might not have access to enough food over the weekend.
“We have a lot more clients coming to get food,” Executive Director, Susan Diersen, says the demand for food has more than doubled. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the weekend pack program. The number of kids last year we only served 60 and this year we’re at 120.”
She thinks the rise of demand is because of the combination of unemployment, hybrid and distance learning, and overall new clients.
“All of them are people that come and say, ‘I used to donate here and they’re a little bit humbled and humiliated that they have to come here.” Diersen says that despite their potential embarrassment clients are assured that that’s why NACE exists and that this is just a time where people are struggling.
Diersen says that even though more people are in need of their help the distribution is harder than ever because of the lack of volunteers, “It’s been really hard, some of my volunteers are getting burnt out, some of them are getting tired. They’re stepping up but basically, that’s what is hitting us the hardest.”
To help volunteer or look for opportunities to serve, visit nacefoodshelf.org