Foodbank seeing record-breaking numbers of families in need in SWFL

Food Distribution
Posted at 5:09 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 01:02:33-04

NAPLES, Fla. — During the summer, St. Matthew's House is busy helping feed families around Southwest Florida.

So far things have already gotten off to a good start and they expect to see the numbers continue to climb

Ashlie Johnson, Director of Engagement, St. Matthew’s House says this summer, they are seeing record-breaking numbers of families in need.

"We had a record hit last month, over 21,000 households or families served, almost 22,000. The record before that was March which was 20,000 households. So we are just really seeing an uptick in how many people are in need and we expected that because it's summertime.

It's almost business as usual for St. Matthews House, they have several locations for food banks set up in Collier and Lee County.

On Thursday, Derek Newbery, an organizer, and volunteer
for one of the food distribution events in Naples told Fox 4 it is an honor to help out his community.

“Often people that come here, they have been out of work, many of them for a while and they may have lost some sense of hope,” he said.

Families who are unemployed are now realizing things may get worse as the state is set to end their $300/ weekly unemployment benefits by June 26, 2021.

A new factor, that has St. Matthews House expecting to see another record-breaking month.

“People have really been struggling and suffering for well over a year now. some people lost their jobs, and never regained employment. those even that did regain employment, are still just trying to catch up,” said Johnson.

Johnson says providing food to families is made possible for St. Matthew's through donations from people and other organizations.

"We get people that breakdown and people that really, you can just sense that you are meeting a tangible need so it's a blessing to be a part of that,” said Newbery.

St. Matthew's House tells Fox 4 throughout the pandemic, it is because of the generosity and donations from the community, they are able to meet the rising needs of SWFL.

If you want to donate or find ways to get involved, click here.