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Residents Face Growing Need For Food As COVID-19 Pandemic Continues

SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) -- Food insecurity is now reaching levels not seen in the United States since the Great Depression.

It is driving more families to seek out food lines, with some stretching for miles.

Hundreds of open trunks and windows rolled in and out of a drive-through food giveaway at the Caring Closet in Saginaw on Monday.

Boxes of food, bunches of bananas, and bags of apples went into those trunks and windows.

"We closed in March because of COVID and we didn't open back up until the middle of September, I would say. And our numbers just doubled right off the bat. And that's how they've been since we've been open," said Anita Collins, director of the Caring Closet.

Collins said the food pantry quickly empties nearly every time they open.

When a full semi-truck dropped off food Monday morning, there was already a line nearly a mile long. That was two hours before the giveaway started.

This year, the Caring Closet is getting more first-time visitors. One of those first-time visitors was Joshua Nelson.

"I'm surviving, but I'm not surviving like I used to. I was making a lot more money and now just collecting unemployment and it sucks, you know," Nelson said.

Nelson is one of the lucky ones. He was one of the last people in line to get food. Dozens were turned away when the closet ran out, which was an hour before the event was scheduled to end.

"With the pandemic, there are more families now than ever that they just don't know where the next meals going to come from and we're happy to provide that extra gap in their form," said Kelly Wurtzell, volunteer.

Monday's food largely came from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

Though Collins wasn't able to feed everyone, she is glad hundreds more people have food.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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