One year into COVID-19 pandemic, food assistance still needed across southwestern Pa.

DUQUESNE, Pa. — It’s been a year since the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank held its first COVID-19 response distribution.

The pandemic has increased the need for food assistance across the country, including here in Pittsburgh.

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During the beginning of the pandemic, people lined up for miles at drive-up distributions to get much-needed food for their families.

>> RELATED HEADLINE: WPXI partners with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for virtual food drive

One year later, the need still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic rates, and food insecurity in southwestern Pennsylvania has increased 42% since 2018.

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Approximately 260,000 southwestern Pennsylvanians were food insecure in 2018. Due to the pandemic, that number is now about 370,000.

Between March 16, 2020 and February 28, 2021, the Food Bank distributed food for more than 46 million meals to the community. That’s an increase of 9.2 million meals from the year before. With support from the community over the past year 55.2 million pounds of food has been handed out.

Organizers tell us when the pandemic hit, people needed food immediately.

“We started to have almost 100 people come to our warehouse facility here in Duquesne in need of food. We received hundreds of phone calls a day from people who were recently unemployed and in desperate need of food,” Lisa Scales, President and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, said.

Donate now and throughout the month of March -

That’s why WPXI and our 11 Cares partners - Dollar Bank, Duquesne Light Company and Gateway Health are teaming up for the 11 Cares Virtual Food Drive in partnership with Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Our community needs help now more than ever. Your generosity provides meals for neighbors in need.