Catholic Charities: Need for food is still great

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RENSSELAER – Sister Betsy Van Duesen hasn’t stopped since the pandemic started.

"The fact that we still have to do it is tragic. The fact that we can is extraordinary," Van Duesen said.

The director of community partnerships for Catholic Charities has helped the organization host more than 140 drive-thru food pantry events since March 2020. She says the demand hasn’t gone away.

"In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot more cars a lot faster. We run out of food, and we have had to turn cars away. It’s unusual for us, even since early in the pandemic we haven’t had to do that." she explained. "A couple of things are probably happening. The kids have been out of school for about a month. They are home for three meals a day. Unemployment is slowing down a bit and people are running out of their unemployment."

The increased demand also means even more of a need for volunteers.

"My experience has been rewarding. It’s something we should all do as human beings," said Earl Bowers, a long time volunteer.

With most pandemic restrictions lifted, the increased demand may come as a surprise for some.

"Sometimes we have people crying, saying ‘I don’t know what I would have done if I weren’t here today,’" Sister Betsy explained. "We simply don’t know the story. We absolutely don’t know what is going on in anyone else’s life."