By Ayana Jones
PHILADELPHIA — Bebashi Transition to Hope’s emergency food cupboard has seen an uptick in visitors throughout the last two weeks. The nonprofit joins other food pantries facing an increased demand due to the coronavirus crisis.
“Never has the need for Bebashi been greater than it is right now,” said Gary Bell, who is the organization’s executive director.
To meet the demand, the organization has had to extend the hours of its food cupboard that offers non-perishables, meats, vegetables and daily products. The nonprofit serves upwards of 100 people a week and the number is “still rising,” Bell said.
“We’ve started to get some folks who are now unemployed, whereas before it was pretty much the same folks,” Bell said.
“We were fortunate that we had stocked up. We were fortunate that we had an excess. We are not running out.”
The uptick in demand comes as a five-truckload, 120-pallet shipment of food resources intended for Philabundance has been diverted to the Share Food warehouse. Philabundance has temporarily closed the doors at its South Philadelphia and North Philadelphia locations following news that two staffers might have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Share typically serves 70,000 people per month, and nonprofit leaders expect to see higher numbers in the coming weeks.