Michigan’s stressed food banks running dangerously low as demand skyrockets

Originally seen in the Detroit News.

Antonio DeBerry didn’t have a choice. He had to wake up early on Thursday to wait in line for produce before thunderstorms hit Detroit, which forced the nearby drive-thru food bank to pause handouts.

After losing everything in Hurricane Michael, DeBerry left Florida and returned to his hometown of Detroit nine months ago, only to encounter the COVID-19 pandemic within months. Thursday was the second time he popped open his trunk at the temporary food bank at Puritan and Livernois, which he said has been “a saving grace.”

“I left Panama City after 11 years, moved back here to be an academic and I’m attending Wayne County Community College … then the outbreak jumped off so I started all over again after losing everything I had,” said DeBerry, 54. “No one expects to have to go to a food bank, but I’m grateful they are here and very helpful.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has Michigan families lining up early and often at emergency food sites, where organizers are overrun as they work to accommodate a tsunami of residents in need and brace for a potential second wave of the virus this fall.