The total confirmed dead from the virus in the U.S. is now at 18,586, second only to Italy, and the confirmed worldwide death toll has reached 100,000.
The San Antonio Food Bank kicked off a drive-through food giveaway on Thursday expecting to provide about 6,000 struggling households with a package of groceries to help get them through tough times.
But before the day was done, about 10,000 had showed up, quickly depleting the 1 million pounds of food the organization had on-hand, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Photos and videos from the distribution site at Traders Village in the citys southwest show lines of cars, thousands deep, filling the vast parking lot and snaking down the highway a chilling illustration of the coronavirus pandemics economic toll.
The food banks chief executive, Eric Cooper, said he was shocked to see the stream of vehicles stretching out of sight.
I said to my team, Were going to need more food, Cooper told KSAT. This is insane.
More than 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past four weeks as efforts to contain the outbreak in the United States have led businesses to shut their doors and lay off workers.
The surge in joblessness is already threatening to overwhelm some social services organizations as people scramble for help. The San Antonio Food Banks distribution lasted four hours longer than originally scheduled, and workers had to turn some people away because they didnt register beforehand, Cooper said.
We tried to qualify people on site, he told the Express-News. There were a few folks who showed up that didnt qualify but then there were those who showed up and said, I heard this was happening. I didnt know I had to register, but I need food. I am a hotel worker and I was laid off. Those are the stories we heard from a lot of people who showed up.
Cooper said the food banks donations are drying up as restaurants, hotels and catering companies shut their doors and grocery store shelves are stripped bare by anxious shoppers. For the first time in its history, the organization is turning to the federal government for help, he said. But that assistance may take 90 days to arrive.
People have to eat between now and then, and were going to be reliant on just what were able to collect through philanthropy, Cooper told KSAT. Unfortunately, philanthropy isnt going to make up the difference in the shortfall that were having.