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News Coverage - 03/30/20

Coronavirus Impact: Silicon Valley food programs see sudden rise

Feeding the hungry is a monumental task, and even more so now during the novel coronavirus pandemic

The nonprofit group Hunger At Home makes about one million meals per year. Across town, Martha’s Kitchen is doing about 600,000 per year. They and others engaged in similar missions are seeing a surge in demand tied mostly to sudden layoffs.

Some of them are volunteers from the hotel and culinary unions.

“We’re talking over 10,000 people that are part of these unions, and most of them have lost their jobs,” said Dinari Brown, Hunger At Home’s chief operating officer. “That’s a huge increase.”

These groups are determined to meet the challenge. However, it’s going to incur direct out-of-pocket costs because they no longer are getting donations of surplus food from the kitchens that feed Silicon Valley’s tech workers because they’re working at home.

“We’ve been doing about 12,000 meals a week,” said Bill Lee of Martha’s Kitchen. “Right now, we’re up to around 18,000 meals a week, and I would anticipate that it’ll probably end up… we’ll probably max out a 24,000 meals a week.”