Heartland sees increase in food, housing assistance needs

Heartland sees increase in food, housing assistance needs

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The COVID-19 pandemic may now be the reason people are going hungry.

Local officials said there is an increase for food and housing assistance because of the virus.

“The thought of a family having to go through the holidays without having enough food to be able to celebrate, is certainty something that breaks our heart,” said Lias Church.

Lisa Church is the chief advancement officer for SEMO Food Bank. She said the number of people in need for food has declined since the start of the pandemic, but they are still seeing about 40 percent more people than usual.

“So far this year, we’ve spent over twice as much as we’ve spent for all of 2019 in purchasing food so, we’re still seeing a number of families who are trying to recover, really, from that initial shock or that initial loss of jobs whenever the pandemic began,” said Church.

SEMO Food Bank has not seen a need for food increase like this since the 2008 recession and officials at the Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri said housing assistance has doubled.

“In a typical month we would receive about 300 requests for housing assistance. Recently, it gone up to almost 600 a month,” said Jeremy Rowland, the regional director for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

He said since the pandemic, most of the people looking for housing assistance are people in need for the first time.

“Due to COVID, they have either lost hours or lost a job and are now needing assistance and are having the make difficult choices between paying rent or utilities,” said Rowland.

“There are just a lot of emotions that go along with that and so we understand and we want to make sure that we’re able to provide the food that they need,” said Church.

You can click here to donate to the SEMO Food Bank or click here to donate to Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

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