Helping those in need with emergency food boxes

Alice Keefe
Updated: March 30, 2020 06:15 PM
Created: March 30, 2020 05:44 PM

(ABC 6 News) - COVID-19 has slowed, and in some cases completely stopped, jobs, activities, and businesses, but that means food banks have been busier than ever.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in demand locally and from our partners throughout our 14-county region,” said Virginia Merritt, the Executive Director of the Channel One Regional Food Bank.


With layoffs and losses of income, Channel One is teaming up with other organizations to make sure families have food.

On Tuesday, 1,000 emergency food boxes will be available to families who need it, no questions asked.

“The city is picking them up, Family Service Rochester recruited and screened volunteers, and then Rochester Public Schools along with the Rochester Public Library identified some spots where we think there’s the most need in town,” Merritt said.

“The boxes will contain enough food approximately to serve a family of four for a week. It’s about 30 pounds’ worth of food in each box,” said Karen Lemke, the head of marketing and community engagement for the Rochester Public Library.

The food is shelf-stable and can be picked up on Tuesday, March 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., or until the boxes run out, at Gage Elementary School, Sunset Terrace Elementary School, and John Adams Middle School.

From 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, or until the boxes run out, they will be distributed at Riverside Central Elementary School, Mayo High School, and Willow Creek Middle School.

“We will be following social distancing protocols, asking people to pop open their trunk where then crews can then put the box of food in their trunk,” Lemke said.

Merritt said for a lot of people, the first time they use Channel One’s services is the hardest because they don’t see themselves as a person who’s struggling.

“You know this is a pandemic. This is a crisis. We’re all doing things we wouldn’t usually do, from working at home to not going out in public to facing these layoffs, so please don’t hesitate to take the help and use it during this time of need. And, you know, if in a year or hopefully less than a year, you find yourself whole and back in a position to help, pay it forward then,” Merritt said.

If you want to help support the Channel One Regional Food Bank, you can mail the organization a check, or donate money online at 

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