Philabundance ramps first free drive-thru food distribution

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was a smooth all-hands-on deck operation as Philabundance handed out more than 1,600 boxes of food at its first drive-thru food distribution.

Members of the National Guard and dozens of volunteers ensured families got what they need while maintaining social distance.

The lines kept getting longer as more families fear the worst.

Philabundance's first-ever drive-thru food distribution shows the need for food is growing.

"It is absolutely unbelievable because everybody is struggling," said Dave Cornwell.

Cornwell came from Clementon, New Jersey to grab food for his church's food pantry.

"It's totally resident-driven everybody just volunteers and I'm trying to find food sources wherever I can," said Cornwall.

Philabundance, the largest hunger-relief organization says the need speaks to unemployment with more than 40 million nationwide filings.

"We have a network of 350 member agencies and many of them have seen an increase of 60 percent more need in the pandemic," said Jess Wyckoff with Philabundance.

Families at the drive-thru were handed 35-pound boxes of food provided filled with necessities dairy, bread, produce and meat. It's in partnership with the city.

"We've been doing food distributions for the last eight weeks and to do the drive-thru is an enhancement and to be able to offer 1,600 cars, the ability to take food home to their families is a great support," said Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa.

The focus is to help families, as many people out of work never imagined they would be at the mercy to ask for help.

"This definitely helps, there's a lot of people I'm sure that's a lot worse than I am and you gotta check up on your neighbors and make sure they're okay," said Wham Le.

"I'm seeing lower income, no income families due to the fact of COVID-19 have totally turned it upside down," said Cornwell. "And it's something that everything I try to give to them, food to get through as support."

The drive-through food distribution will continue at Citizen Ball Park every Friday throughout the month of June. It opens at 9 a.m. and goes through 1 p.m.
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