Media Food Pantry List Can Mislead?
Hunger Task Force warns people to double check, some “food pantries” listed can’t handle demands.
The media are trying to help those looking for emergency food, and has listed food pantries who the stories say can provide help. But sometimes those pantries are not equipped to handle the current crisis, says Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director of the Hunger Task Force.
“Ten or 12 of the programs we work with have closed because they can’t handle the demand,” she says. “Our network of pantries is volunteer based and fragile—this is how hunger relief works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the nation. Older adults who are the front line of our volunteer workforce are being directed to stay home.”
Adding more pressure is that food pantries have faced a problem of hoarders who are not destitute looking for free food. “Our pantries and homeless shelters are appropriately supplied under normal circumstances but many people are anxious and trying to stock up on food during this time,” Tussler says. “This places other truly needy people at risk of not obtaining food, especially the elderly and other vulnerable populations.”
Rather than publishing a list of pantries that may or may not be open, she urges the media to direct people to the Hunger Task Force website. “We have an up-to-date, daily updated map of open sites on our website. We visit our network daily to verify that they are still operating” she adds, in the face of added demand from the coronavirus pressure. You can find that list here.
Most of the pantries, she notes, are for open only some days and for limited hours, so its always best to check ahead for that information.
Hunger Task Force is is also looking for volunteers over 18 to help supply local food pantries: email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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