Grim footage has shown lines of cars stretching for miles outside a Los Angeles food bank as droves of desperate Americans continue to line for hours across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of cars were spotted crawling along the street to receive food items being distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at the The Forum arena in Inglewood at the weekend.
More than two million people in California have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March when the coronavirus started to spread rapidly throughout the US.
In other scenes across the country in recent days, hundreds of people lined up in their cars on Tuesday in order to get free food from the Feeding South Florida food bank in Opa-Locka.
About 10,000 families lined up in their cars for hours at a food bank in San Antonio, Texas and cars lined for more than a mile at a drive-up food bank site in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the weekend.
Crowds of people were also spotted huddling together in the rain outside a soup kitchen in New York City on Monday despite social distancing guidelines being enforced by the city.
The coronavirus outbreak has now thrown at least 16.8 million Americans out of work since mid-March as tough measures to control the coronavirus abruptly brought the country’s economy to a halt.
CALIFORNIA: Thousands of cars were spotted crawling along the street to receive food items being distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at the The Forum arena in Inglewood at the weekend
CALIFORNIA: More than two million people in California have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March when the coronavirus started to spread rapidly throughout the US
Food banks across the country have warned they are struggling to cope with the huge surge of Americans needing food as the unemployment toll from coronavirus continues to grow.
Non profit groups and relief organizations say they are scrambling to keep up with unprecedented demand for food and other basic essentials at emergency distribution sites in dozens of cities.
The San Antonio Food Bank’s CEO Eric Cooper told NBC’s Today on Monday that the current demand is the worst he has since in his 25-year history with the organization.
Last Thursday, some 10,000 families lined up in their cars for hours at a massive SAFB distribution event called Mega Giveaway.
‘We were blown away and overwhelmed at the need in the community because of COVID-19,’ Cooper said.
‘We typically feed about 60,000 a week. The need has risen to 120,000 people a week and we are just working as hard as we can to meet that need.’
He said the people queuing in their cars included hospitality workers, Uber drivers and others whose place of employment has shut down because of the pandemic.
Cooper said many of those coming to the food bank sites had never needed to turn to the organization before.
‘Their last paycheck ran out, and there’s just nowhere else to go,’ he said. ‘They know the food bank maybe from volunteering but they have never had to ask for help.
‘This is the case with food banks across the country. We’re one of 200 food banks part of the Feeding America food bank network.
‘All of my peers in other cities are struggling to have enough food to meet the needs of that line. It’s been overwhelming.’
FLORIDA: Feeding South Florida volunteers deliver bags of food to Opa-Locka’s residents at a food distribution facility
FLORIDA: Volunteers placed food into the back of waiting cars in Florida on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic
FLORIDA: Hundreds of people lined up in their cars on Tuesday in order to get free food from the Feeding South Florida food bank in Opa-Locka
KENTUCKY: A volunteer with Highpoint Charitable Services registers hundreds families as they wait in line for food donations at a food bank in LaGrange on Monday
KENTUCKY: Amee D’Amico, the Executive Director of Highpoint Charitable Services, directs traffic as hundreds of local families line up to have donated groceries loaded into the cars of families in need, at a food bank in LaGrange
Asked if SAFB has enough food, volunteers and money to keep the Mega Giveaway efforts going, Cooper said: ‘We really need all three. We’re struggling to keep up. Our inventories are going fast.
Hundreds of people lined up in the rain on Monday to get a free meal at the Bowery Mission in Manhattan. The line leading to the homeless charity snaked around the block as volunteers tried to enforce social distancing.
Meal distribution traffic at the Bowery Mission has doubled in the past week – a startling indication of growing food insecurity in hard-hit New York City.
The Bowery Mission served about 60,000 meals on Easter Sunday alone and organizers expect the demand will continue to surge.
In Pennsylvania, cars lined for a mile as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank held a drive-thru distribution event with enough supplies for 1,300 families last Friday.
Workers at Los Angeles International Airport were invited to a specially-organized food bank last Friday, DailyMail.com reported exclusively. At least 5,000 cars were expected at that event, according to LA Food Bank President and CEO Michael Flood.
In Miramar, Florida, the line of cars outside a giveaway by Feeding South Florida and Farm Share Food Distribution extended for five miles.
The staggering lines for food comes as a record 6.6 million new claims for unemployment benefits were filed across the United States in the first week of April, according to the latest Labor Department figures.
NEW YORK: People wait in line in the rain on Monday to receive lunch at the Bowery Mission in Manhattan
NEW YORK: The lines outside the Bowery Missions stretched around the block as volunteers reminded people about social distancing
CALIFORNIA: Anaheim police officers riding horses monitor the traffic of people waiting in their cars during an Easter drive-thru food distribution at the Honda Center on Sunday
CALIFORNIA: A volunteer directs the traffic during an Easter drive-thru food distribution at the Honda Center in Anaheim
TEXAS: About 10,000 families lined up in their cars for hours at a food bank in San Antonio, Texas last week
That number of first-time claims was on top of the more than 10 million applications filed in the last two weeks of March.
California leads the country with the highest number of new unemployment claims with more than two million people filing in just three weeks.
Pennsylvania has seen more than one million new claims.
The states with the next highest number of claims include: New York (791,840), Texas (745,443), Ohio (694,779), New Jersey (535,965) and Georgia (534,135).
Illinois (493,475), Washington (489,585), Massachusetts (469,457) and North Carolina (403,801) all reported more than 400,000 new claims.
Congress, the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve have mounted the largest financial intervention in history in recent weeks to try to help America survive the crisis.
It includes expanding unemployment benefits, mandating sick leave for some, distributing $1,200 checks to individuals and allocating rescue aid to employers.
The rescue plan extended unemployment benefits for the first time to part-time and gig workers such as Uber drivers.
It added $600 a week to existing state unemployment payments but states have been swamped by claims for jobless benefits and are struggling to deliver the new federal aid.
It comes as the International Monetary Fund forecast on Tuesday that the global economy is expected to suffer its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Beaten down by the coronavirus outbreak, the world economy will shrink by 3 per cent during 2020 – far worse than its 0.1 per cent dip in the Great Recession year of 2009 – before rebounding in 2021 with 5.8 per cent growth.
NEW YORK: People receive free groceries at Community League of the Heights food pantry on Saturday
NEW YORK: People lined to get free meals and groceries from the Community League of the Heights food pantry on Saturday
LOUISIANA: Homeless people get food deliveries by volunteers in New Orleans at the weekend