Pittsburgh-area food bank expects supply to diminish in coming weeks: 'This really is unprecedented'

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Lisa Scales, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, said on “Fox & Friends” on Monday that she has never experienced such a surge in demand in her more than two-decade career.

“I have been in food banking for almost 25 years," she said. "This really is unprecedented.”

Images of cars lining up outside food banks are emerging across the country as food banks nationwide are scrambling to keep up with demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. A perfect storm – record demand, volunteer shortages, and now food supply issues due to panic buying – has put food banks across the country into overdrive.

A Feeding America survey of its food banks found more than 98 percent have seen a surge in demand — with 59 percent reporting a decrease in inventory.

As food banks struggle to feed as many people as possible, they are now feeling the ripple effects of the panic-buying that cleaned grocery stores out over the past few weeks.

When asked what her biggest challenges have been, Scales said, “Our greatest need is keeping up with the demand here in southwestern Pennsylvania.”

“We started planning for the spread of the virus here in early March and by middle of March we were receiving calls from hundreds of people a day,” she said. “We had people showing up at our front door of our warehouse. We started drive up distributions and are serving 1,000 to 2,000 cars at each of those distributions.”

She added, “Right now our food supply is good, but I am concerned that in the next three or four weeks our supply will be diminished.”

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Scales said the items that are of most need are “canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, tuna fish, peanut butter and of course many of the items that are personal care items; shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels."

Fox News’ Rob DiRienzo contributed to this report.