One of the many impacts the spread of COVID-19 has had on the community is the increased demand for food services.
The food pantry at Metrocrest Services, which serves Carrollton, Coppell, Farmers Branch, Addison and part of Dallas, has already seen an increase in demand, said Nicole Binkley, chief operating officer at Metrocrest Services.
"Over the last week we've had a 10- to 15-percent increase in visits," Binkley said. "And the longer the students are out of school, the more we anticipate that to increase."
Students in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD and Coppell ISD were on spring break but now are expected to be out of school through at least April 3 because of the coronavirus.
"It was already a busy week because of spring break,・Binkley said. "But when they announced they closed school for even longer we're expecting there to be an increase."
But that's just part of what's driving the demand. With the closure of several businesses over coronavirus concerns, many local residents are looking to the pantry because of loss of income.
"While some employers indicate they plan to pay their employees even if they close we expect that to occur for only a limited amount of time and primarily benefit full-time workers," Binkley said. "This will lead to a greater need for our housing assistance program to ensure families can pay their rent and avoid eviction."
Binkley said there hasn't been an increase in the number of residents seeking utility and rent assistance through Metrocrest Services. But she said that's expected to change as April's rent becomes due.
Binkley said the community has already begun donating money for the pantry, though she said more donations will likely be needed.
She said the best way to donate is to visit metrocrestservices.org/idonate.php as that helps limit face-to-face exposure.
Lovepacs, which serves students across North Texas, including the eastern side of Lewisville ISD, is also asking for food donations. Students in LISD are also out of school through at least April 3.
“Our chapters just finished packing and delivering for spring break, so our inventory was very low,” said Christina Wade, co-chair for the Lewisville ISD-East Chapter of Lovepacs.
Now the extended spring break is creating a “huge increase in demand,” Wade said.
“We have had people all over DFW reach out because they have children on the free and reduced programs that are now left without food because they are out of school,” Wade said. “We will be looking at possible expansions to other districts soon.”
Wade said as school districts began closing Lovepacs sent out requests for donations so it can restock its shelves.
“Each chapter is working closely with its district and/or hunger council as well as other local organizations to provide solutions for the students and families in need of meals while the schools are closed,” Wade said.
“The outpouring of support from the communities and local businesses has been overwhelming and amazing,” she added.
Wade said the items that Lovepacs needs the most include canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned meat (chicken, tuna), canned pasta, canned soup, packaged ramen, boxed macaroni and cheese, packaged oatmeal, granola bars and individual snack items.