PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Camp Out for Hunger, hosted by 93.3 WMMR, kicked off Monday with a much different look amid the coronavirus pandemic. The annual food drive is the largest in the country, according to Philabundance's CEO.
"This year we're kind of stressing online and remote donations while still keeping the flavor of the camp out, which we've been doing now for 20 years," said WMMR Radio Host Steve Morrison.
Radio hosts Steve and Preston are broadcasting live out of tents at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, but without a live audience like years past.
They are encouraging people to wear masks when they drive up to allow volunteers to safely take their canned donations. The donations will support Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief organization in the area.
"It's a tough time for people to offer up a donation, and especially if they are having a hard time making ends meet, but once again we can already feel it in the advance response we've gotten from people that Philadelphia's not going to let the area down," radio host Preston Elliot said.
Representatives from Philabundance said this year, the donations are needed more than ever because of COVID-19. Food insecurity is up 60%.
"Last year's 2019 camp out, so much food was raised and so much money that we were able to use it to help us at the beginning of COVID, so without that generosity from last year we wouldn't have been able to really respond," said Philabundance CEO Loree Jones.
Camp Out for Hunger runs until Friday and volunteers are out as early as 6 a.m. Last year, the drive brought in 2.6 million pounds of food. This year, they hope to break that record.
"We felt the complexion of it should be to keep people encouraged. We're going to be out here doing what we're doing safely, but we're going to keep it going and really pull on every heartstring," Morrison said.
Camp Out For Hunger hosts drive-thru food drive amid COVID-19 surge in Philadelphia