PHOENIX - Phoenix food banks are at a record high in September, and the month isn't even over, and there’s a perfect storm making this demand even more challenging.
Another day at St. Mary’s Food Bank during unordinary times where 40 volunteers grabbing, stuffing and boxing.
This month will set a new record for demand as more than 900 families just in a day needed help, and ongoing inflation will bring more the next day.
The hands to fill the boxes are few.
"We lost 80% of our volunteers overnight," said Jerry Brown with the food bank.
They aren’t alone. Nationally, the amount of volunteers has dropped 10% since 2013 according to a Gallup survey.
Now, just 56% of Americans say they volunteer.
At St. Mary’s, it means the entire line that would be used every day to pack boxes is now empty. They just don’t have the volunteers at the time they’re needed most.
"There’s an extra line that 40 more volunteers could be at building food boxes," Brown said.
Gallup says some are not ready to return to crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this trend has been years in the making.
More people have second jobs or side hustles now than ever before. Time is valuable.
"We have enough time. We have 24 hours to make a little difference to help people," said Gino Jaurujui, a food bank volunteer.
Brown says they aren't the only place hurting for volunteers.
"It’s changed how people do things. Do you have an extra job? Do you work from home and not in the office? I think things have changed and impacted volunteering. I think that’s not just St. Mary's Food Bank. If you went to any other nonprofit you’d find a lack of volunteers, where they were there before 2020," Brown said.
After reaching out to other nonprofits, FOX 10 only found one that said it filled all of their volunteer spots. Many are hopeful in time though things will rebound because volunteers are needed.