RACINE -- As unemployment numbers rise, the demand on food pantries is, too. With the available food supply quickly dwindling, leaving pantries pleading for help, the Racine Salvation Army is also looking for volunteers.
Shelves at the Racine Salvation Army food pantry are normally full. FOX6 News was there when it reopened in February -- a drastic difference from the amount of food on the shelves now with the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to blame.
BEFORE: Racine Salvation Army food pantry (February 19, 2020)
"We think we have enough food that'll last us till Wednesday next week, but we're really scared about next Thursday, especially if the numbers keep increasing," said Cynthia Nicolai, Racine Salvation Army major.
Open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the Salvation Army usually helps anywhere between 50 and 75 people. This week alone, that number jumped to 150 -- many of whom are first-time visitors.
"They're worried about, you know, where their next meal's gonna come from, how long that food is that they have, how long is it gonna last," Nicolai said. "How are they gonna feed their family?"
So, they're looking for help in a number of ways. First, but donating non-perishable food or money. Second, as outlined by the Hunger Task Force, they need more volunteers with pantries relying on retired seniors.
"We need people who are healthy, and maybe either laid off of work or maybe they have some time to spare, to come volunteer at our food bank or volunteer at their local food pantry to keep the ship afloat," said Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force executive director.
For now, the food pantry is turning to the community for help in a time of isolation to keep food on the table for families as best they can. For donations, the Salvation Army is in need of non-perishable food items, but all pantries and food banks would really prefer money right now.