NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They are social distancing, but perhaps have never worked more closely and more urgently together.
"It's touching every borough. It's touching everybody. And that kind of need is overwhelming, actually," said City Harvest Chief Operating Officer Jean McLean.
Three weeks ago, when CBS2 last visited the City Harvest hub, the nonprofit was gearing up to deliver food to 400 local soup kitchens, shelters and pantries. Since then, 86 of those programs -- run by various organizations -- have shut due to coronavirus concerns and fewer volunteers.
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That means there are fewer places for New Yorkers in need of food to turn, reported CBS2's Scott Rapoport.
"I don't think we've even started to see how dire it is. I think the ramifications of high unemployment here and everywhere in our city is going to really paint a picture way into the future for us," McLean said.
At City Harvest's seven mobile markets, like one in the Stapleton section of Staten Island, there's been a 30% increase in people coming in for food. According to the agency, many of them have never needed food assistance, and many more young families with children. It's a reflection of these dire times.
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"What we're hearing from people... is either 'I've seen this before and I've never needed it. But I always noticed it. And now I need it.' Or, 'everyone in my household has lost their job,'" McLean said.
City Harvest says it is now working to open 22 additional sites in the five boroughs, each of which will distribute 4,000-12,000 pounds of food per week to grateful people, hungry for help.
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