Donations needed as Mid-South Food Bank feeds record numbers of families through pandemic

Mid-South food distributing food like never before

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Mid-South Food Bank has seen an unprecedented amount of food coming in and out of their warehouse everyday, largely due to the pandemic. It has caused them to hire more workers and tap into government funding, and it has cost them millions of dollars.

“This is something way new to us. The pandemic has really impacted a much broader base of clients that we normally have not seen before,” said Scott Fortin, the Mid-South Food Bank’s chief operating officer.

Fortin said about 20 truckloads of food leave the warehouse every day.

“We load up the truck with agency orders. An average truck is about $45,000,” he stated

The food is sent to places like food pantries across 31 counties in the Mid-South. They’ve distributed 5.8 million pounds of food in the last few months, about three times their normal amount. And they’ve had to acquire food using a few methods.

“We’ve seen a slight decrease in the local donations,” said Fortin.

So, they have relied on government programs including the USDA, Farm to Family and Tennessee Emergency Management.

The amount of food they have purchased has also gone up.

“So far since COVID we have purchased about $2.3 million worth of food,” said Fortin.

They are not the only ones trying to acquire food right now.

“We’re fighting against the retailers to get the same food in. So some of the purchase orders that we put in way back in may are just now arriving to our door,” said Fortin.

They have hired more hands on deck to help in the warehouse this year as well.

The food bank does not see the need slowing down anytime soon. They welcome all donations, but the best way to donate is on the Mid-South Food Bank’s website.

Donate today to the annual WMC Action News 5 Holiday Food Drive and help us feed families in need this winter.

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