(WBNG) -- The Food Bank of the Southern Tier says the pandemic has caused more food insecurity, but it could get worse as unemployment benefits expire.
"I'm expecting a tsunami," said Director of Community Impact for the food bank, Randi Quackenbush, as she described what the demand would be like the first week of August now that unemployment benefits have expired.
Randi says even before the pandemic, trying to keep up with the demand was difficult. She says since last year, the demand has risen nearly 80 percent in their programs across the area, varying at certain locations.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier has had to make arrangements to fit the pandemic. Some of their elderly volunteers had to leave due to the risk of exposure and they've had to limit ways they contact the public, which can be hard for a program like this.
Randi says with the unemployment benefits expiring the last week of July and the second stimulus package from Washington is still undecided by democrats and republicans, she fears matters could get worse and there could be a serious spike in demand once again.
"I'm terrified of what next week might look like for our network, for our distributions," said Quackenbush. "I'm expecting a tsunami. So, we're really urging the Senate to consider food assistance and any other direct payments to families in this time. It's not going away anytime soon."
If you are in need of assistance or would like to volunteer your time, you can visit the food bank's main website.