FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — GraceWorks Ministries said the number of volunteers at their food pantry have dwindled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they have an urgent need for help.
The drop in volunteers comes when the food pantry has seen a big increase in demand.
"The need is consistent, the need is urgent, families are driving distances to come to our food pantry," GraceWorks Minsitries CEO Valencia Breckenridge said. "There was a day literally where all of our food pantry shelves were empty, that's how much food we were giving away."
The food bank has created a socially distant protocol, including not allowing customers inside of the building, but the new rules require more volunteers, and as the need increases, the help from volunteers has fallen.
"When COVID numbers go up, our volunteer numbers go down," Breckenridge said.
Breckenridge said the food pantry usually has about 270 volunteers a week, but in recent months, they've had only 70. During one shift last week, the organization only had one volunteer.
"Many of our volunteers are retirees, and they fall in that category where they are at a higher risk, we certainly want to respect that," Breckenridge said.
Now, as the non-profit braces for a busy season, it's calling for help.
"As we approach the holidays, the need is going to be even greater," Breckenridge said. "If you can give two hours, if you can four hours, if you can give a day, we need you!"
To get more information about volunteering or to sign up for volunteer shifts, you can go to the GraceWorks Ministries website.