Food pantries working to meet growing demand

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing some big changes at the Franklin Food Pantry and at food pantries across Metro West. Meanwhile, the need for food pantries is only growing.

BOSTON — The COVID-19 crisis is forcing some big changes at the Franklin Food Pantry and at food pantries across Metro West. Meanwhile, the need for food pantries is only growing.

Dozens of bags prepacked with non-perishable items are ready to go at the Franklin Food Pantry where clients will line up in their cars on Friday to receive what they need.

Before COVID-19, clients could go inside and shop for exactly what they need but the pandemic has taken that choice away.

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“We do not want them to get sick, we don’t want to be the ones to bring sickness to them,” said Lynn Calling.

At the Natick Service Council, they’ve also moved to prebagged items and in an effort to limit possible exposure, they’ve stopped accepting food donations, instead asking for money so they can buy items from the Greater Boston Food Bank. But that also means Natick is dipping into its own food reserves.

"We still have back up supplies from many of the foods that we offer, but we are using them, so those will go down," said Carol Gloff.

While Franklin and Natick both make major changes, they are also seeing the demand for help increasing.

"We are definitely seeing an increase in need, our case managers are receiving phone calls every day from people who need help. Who haven't needed help before," said Gloff.

“Before COVID-19, in a busy month for us, we may see ten new people come to the pantry. Over the past two weeks, in the last two weeks, we’ve seen over 40 new individuals or families come to the pantry. And we really expect to see that number grow as the weeks go on,” said Calling.

People at these food banks say it’s important to know what if you need hlpe, please ask, and if you can help with donations, now is the time.

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