GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) - The Oregon Food Bank is seeing an increase in clients as COVID-19 takes an economic toll.

On Wednesday evening, one of their partner pantries in Gresham saw firsthand just how big the need is right now.

“Food for Families” had shelves full of food and crates full of milk, translating to 124 food boxes for those who need them. It was all gone in just over an hour.

“I definitely was not expecting that amount of people that quickly,” Ellie Graham said. “I thought that 124 boxes would go in two hours, like we normally do. For it being an hour though, that was quick and it’s crazy that that many people found out about us that fast.”

Graham and Shar Giard are co-founders of “Food for Families” in Gresham. It’s a food pantry that started about five years ago. They get nearly all of their food from the Oregon Food Bank.

The old bus usually only operates when school is in session but they knew there’d likely be a need right now, so they decided to do drive-through boxes.

And sure enough, it was the busiest they’ve ever been.

“Without a doubt, I think it’s lots of people being laid off, not being able to work right now, so they just need a little bit of extra support and that’s what we’re here for,” Graham said.

Just Wednesday afternoon, they served more than 600 people, mostly new faces, and they say they’re just glad they can help.

“It feels really nice that we’re able to be there for the community when they need it most and that even though some other people are maybe not able to be a resource right at this moment we are,” Graham said.

If you're in need of food right now, the food bank has an online resource called OregonFoodFinder.org.

That’s to find emergency food assistance nearby. But when it comes to longer term needs, they say SNAP is the most efficient option.

Those food benefits go through DHS: https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Eligibility-Apply.aspx

For those looking to help out, the food bank says financial contributions are better than food donations.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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