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Coronavirus Update: Food Banks In Northern Suburbs Under Enormous Strain To Help Those In Need

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Unemployment is skyrocketing and so is the demand on local food banks.

They are working harder than ever to help people who are suddenly insecure about putting meals on the table due to the coronavirus pandemic, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

They are seeing lots of new faces at the MLK Centers in the Rockland County town of Spring Valley. As employers close and workers are laid off, the demand for bags of food has tripled in the last month.

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Aiello spoke with manager Martin Coleman -- safely -- from a social distance.

"They're very appreciative of the opportunity to help feed their families, but they're also looking to have this end as quickly as possible so that they can get back to work and get back to a normal life," Coleman said.

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On Tuesday morning, Coleman collected supplies of fresh produce from a distribution event sponsored by Rockland Community Against Hunger. The pallets were arranged to promote social distancing by the volunteers.

Coordinator Anita Dreichler said the 40 food banks in Rockland face rapidly rising demand.

"It's people who've lost their jobs. It's also people that have to stay home and take care of a loved one, or their children are home and they need to stay have to stay home for that. So there are many reasons why people can't be working and they need extra help right now," Dreichler said.


Feeding Westchester is the largest provider to food pantries in the northern suburbs. In March, the National Guard helped it distribute a record 1.5 million pounds of food. Vice president Matt Honeycutt said he sees a long road ahead.

"For us, this is just the beginning of what we anticipate will be months and months and months of feeding more people than we've ever fed before in the county," Honeycutt said.

Even during good times food banks struggle to make ends meet. If you're fortunate enough to be in a position to help, monetary donations are needed now more than ever.

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