When the unemployment rate reaches a record, more Washington residents need help to get food | Instant News

Washington agriculture officials estimate that one in four people will need help to get enough food, as the pandemic continues.

EVERETT, Wash. – Unemployment is hitting in Washington state, with the latest figures from the Department of Labor Safety showing the unemployment rate reached a record 15.4% in April.

With people who have lost their jobs, there is also a growing need for food, and people do what they can to help.

Thursday was Carlos Mendoza’s first time standing in a line of food. But the roofer had no choice because he had no job and no money. Mendoza is also two months behind to rent his Everett apartment.

His wife doesn’t work, too. Mendoza was worried about what would happen to them and their three-year-old twins.

“Right now food is the most important thing,” he said.

Across the state, the need for food has doubled to more than 1.5 million people since the start of the pandemic.

Washington agriculture officials estimate that one in four people will need help to get enough food, as the pandemic continues.

RELATED: Washington sees a record unemployment rate of 15.4% in April

“We will see the waves starting to flush the beach here,” said Everett Food Bank volunteer John Clark. “Right now, economic stimulus packages are helping but once it’s gone and reality begins to emerge, we will see more and more people coming.”

The state burns $ 5.5 million every week to maintain a supply of food banks.

How long it can be maintained is still unclear, but with around 500,000 more people expected to need help in the coming weeks, philanthropic organizations may have to intervene, at a time when “donor exhaustion” begins to be felt.

“It kind of breaks my heart because there are a lot of injured people there,” Clark said.

This week in Arlington, Volunteers of America Snohomish County hired a 64,000-square-foot wholesale store – something that had never been done before – to distribute 21,000 boxes of food to the local food bank every week for at least the next three months.

RELATED: Local non-profits increased operations and donated 330,000 meals in 2 months

The move talks about ongoing needs in Snohomish County and its surroundings, and how much they are expected to grow with unemployment in Washington at record levels.

For the Mendoza family, and many more, the food bank is likely the only way they will survive.

“We just hope God lifts us up,” Mendoza said.

RELATED: King County Access bus drivers help deliver food during the coronavirus crisis

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