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St. Mary's Food Bank sees record number of recipients amid coronavirus outbreak

More than 1,100 people came through St. Mary's Food Bank on Tuesday. It was the largest single-day distribution the food bank has done outside of Thanksgiving.

PHOENIX — With restaurants and schools closed as well as grocery store shelves depleted, food for some is becoming more scarce.

Now record numbers of people are turning to St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix for help.

On Tuesday, 1,152 people came through St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix — up more than 200 percent from the day before.

“It’s the largest day we’ve done outside of our Thanksgiving distribution — ever,” said Tom Kertis, the CEO and president of the food bank.

Each customer got 15 non-perishable items, meat options, eggs and more. They gave more food than usually to help keep more safe longer. 

Kertis said he believes these daily numbers will grow.

“This is not meant to supplement shortages in the grocery store. This is for people who have food insecurity...and they are living on the edge," he said. 

"And they need food to get through the next week, the next couple days. That’s what we’re here to do."

Social workers also make deliveries to the elderly.

To keep the experience more efficient and safer, Kertis said the food bank has gone to an outdoor, non-contact model.

"They come up, they lay their ID down on the table...we never touch it," he said. 

"The person writes down the appropriate information. Our volunteer does that, and then the person picks up their own ID. And then the food is put in their car."

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