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San Antonio Food Bank Desperate For Volunteers To Help With All-Time-High Need

REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Some hundreds of residents, affected by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, line-up in their vehicles as they await their turn to collect groceries from the San Antonio Food Bank in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., April 1

This post was updated on Wednesday, July 8, at 4:15 p.m.
The San Antonio Food Bank continues to be a lifelinefor San Antonio families experiencing food insecurity due to economic fallout of COVID-19 — many of whom had never previously received assistance — but is in urgent need of volunteers to maintain full distribution efforts.

Since the COVID-19 health crisis began, the demand for food at the San Antonio Food Bank has doubled. They're now feeding 120,000 people.

Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, said the number of volunteers has dwindled. He said many of the corporations the Food Bank relies on are helping financially but are prohibiting their employees from gathering. This, along with the heat and fear of infection, is why Cooper thinks fewer people are volunteering.

"We're not sure exactly what the drop is. But we started Monday with the need for 400 volunteers at our distribution sites and we only had 100 signed up now folks are starting to hear the call, but we've got all the way through the summer these distributions will be happening. And we're really desperate for volunteers," he said.

Cooper said he's grateful for the individual volunteers who have been helping out since March.

"Oftentimes volunteers, I think, take away more than those that they came to serve. There's an incredible feeling of service and I think no greater demonstration the love. So thanks and thanks to all of our volunteers that have been serving," he said.

Cooper said the Food Bank is taking multiple health and safety precautions, including temperature checks, sanitation and social distancing.

"They're out there on the front lines. And I tell you, they really are superheroes. I mean, they're working on the frontlines of this crisis and obviously in healthcare and here at the food bank. I always say for these superheroes, capes are optional, but masks are required," Cooper said.

Guest: Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, July 8.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon