DENVER (CBS4) – The large number of unemployed has put a real strain on food banks throughout the region. At the same time, donations have dropped.

“Over the past couple of weeks, Food Bank of the Rockies has doubled our food distribution,” explained Erin Pulling, the CEO of the non-profit.

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“We are expecting that to maintain and even increase now over the coming weeks. So many people may have been one paycheck away from having to choose between rent and food and are now faced with that decision.”

But the Food Bank is also struggling with a drop in donations and volunteers.

“We depend on our retails partners like King Soopers, Walmart and Safeway to donated food to us. Those supplies have been down but we do expect them to rebound soon.”

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Pulling said those donations are down about a third but they are getting donations from an unexpected source, restaurants.

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“What we have seen is a silver lining of so many restaurant closures right now is an outpouring of support from restaurants, of food that they will no longer be able to use.”

Thursday morning that included a truck-load of supplies that was intended for 80 Starbucks stores that are now closed. That truck included milk that was immediately distributed.

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But the Food Bank also needs help getting that food sorted and distributed. It needs about 100 volunteers a day to take care of the donations and get them out to community food pantries.

And long-time volunteer Paul Berteau will tell you, helping can make you feel better.

“Volunteers are the life blood of any non-profit organization,” Berteau said. “We couldn’t afford to do what we do without the volunteers who are here on a regular basis. I do this because it’s an opportunity to give back.”

The Food Bank of the Rockies says it is possible to do social distancing inside it’s 100,000 square foot warehouse.

In addition to food donations and volunteers, the Food Bank is also looking for monetary donations.

If you’d like to help, you can find out more at Food Bank of the Rockies.


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