Food bank “leans in” to meet growing demand across Wyoming
EVANSVILLE, WYO. | ERIC GALATAS, (Public News Service) – Food banks in Wyoming and across the nation are seeing unprecedented demand in the wake of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Tony Woodell, director of the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies, said they’re delivering up to 80% more food each month over previous years.
Woodell noted the challenge – which is projected to last at least another 18 months, even after a vaccine is widely available – is a lot like facing a strong Wyoming headwind.
“You have to kind of lean into it, to get through it,” Woodell explained. “And the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies is leaning in to get through the wind, and we’re counting on our partners to lean in with us as we get through this.”
Woodell confirmed one in six Wyoming residents does not know where his or her next meal is coming from.
In previous years, Woodell encouraged people to come out and volunteer, but for health and safety reasons, he emphasized financial support is the most effective way for people in the Cowboy State to help their struggling neighbors.
Thanks to the food bank’s buying power, each dollar donated can provide four meals.
Woodell said in addition to securing enough food to meet the demand, the big challenge in Wyoming is the need is spread out across vast distances. He added the lion’s share of clients since March lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and many have never had to ask for help in the past.
“That tells the story of exactly what’s going on throughout the United States and Wyoming,” Woodell observed. “We’re reaching out to those families and offering them a safety net of sorts, so they can get back up on their feet, and not rely upon government assistance.”
Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies works with 170 partners across the state, including local churches and larger outfits such as the Salvation Army, to get food to struggling families.
The food bank has also launched a drive-through mobile pantry, where families can safely pick up food boxes packed with a week’s worth of items including canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy.
Photo: Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies