LUBBOCK, Texas — The South Plains Food Bank (SPFB) said it has been serving significantly more people than it does in a typical year and is asking for more volunteers to help fight hunger.

Morgan Baker, Communications Manager at South Plains Food Bank, said SPFB has seen at least a sixty percent increase amid the pandemic and that it has not slowed down.

“We expect to see the side effects of the coronavirus in the next 18-24 months, just because there are so many people that are affected by the ripple affects caused by all of the events of 2020,” said Baker. “People have to rebuild their lives, so for people to re-enter the job market and stuff like that, it takes time.”

Berry Massy, Volunteer Manager for SPFB, said in the previous three years before the pandemic, the average age for volunteers was 72. Once the pandemic started, only a handful were able to volunteer.

“The first couple of months we were down 65-70 percent [volunteers] over what we had been the previous year,” said Massy. “Last month was about 38 percent but it’s still a shortfall for us as far as the number of volunteers that come out.”

Massy said the demand for food is expected to increase in the upcoming summer months.

“We don’t quit going, our hunger actually increases a little bit during the summer time because [of the] kids that were getting free and reduced meals at school,” said Massy. “That’s a bigger impact on a single parent.”

Bruce Wilson and his wife Nadie said they had been volunteering at the food bank for the past two-and-a-half years, but stopped amid the pandemic. Recently, they returned.

“We were ready to come back and do something and help people get something to eat,” said Nadie. “We’ve been sorting apples for quite a while, basically since we got back.”

Bruce said he was also glad to be back because he said there are several good reasons to help out.

“If we weren’t here to do it, maybe it wouldn’t get done in time for the next distribution and they’d go to waste, and I’d hate for food to go to waste,” said Bruce. “Glad to help find a place to get this distributed.”

For more information on volunteering for the food bank, click here.