Pandemic food bank demand at St. Moses the Black in Detroit sees staggering increase

A church in Detroit is stepping up to help put food on the table for people in need during the pandemic, but they have one big problem - they're running out of food and are being forced to turn people away.

"We hate to turn people away," said Camille Graves Douglas, food pantry coordinator.

But on this day sadly, they have to.

"I don't know how we're going to manage," she added.

Cars lined up along Oakman in Detroit Wednesday - the day folks with the Catholic Church of St. Moses the Black, also known as Church of the Madonna Parish, handed out food for families in need. 

The line is overwhelming after a post began circulating on social media telling people no one has been coming for food - and in turn, the church could lose its funding.

"I haven't been able to track it to the source," Douglas said. "And I don't know why they would do that. This is not government funded. We're not running out of anything but food every week."

The church's food pantry coordinator says they usually serve about 50 families of four per week with bags of dry foods, canned goods, meat and produce - thanks to their Gleaners membership.

But during this pandemic, they have been serving 250 families per week.
"That 251st family were telling them to call 211 or Gleaners to find out who else is giving away food," Douglas said. "We may have a little produce left for another 10 or 20 families, but not the whole stretch." 

But these folks are doing everything they can to keep the long line moving.

They are all volunteers - no one is getting paid, they are out in the cold, but they love it.

"This is my passion," said Carla Scott, volunteer. "It really makes me feel blessed knowing that there's people in the community that I can actually help."

Camille Graves Douglas and her team of volunteers are now hoping those out there can give a little during this holiday season.
"Cash donations are of course welcome and they should be made payable to Saint Moses the Black, Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry." 

If you can help - Food and monetary donations can also be given to Gleaners on the church's behalf.

"Nobody knew this was going to last this long," Douglas said.

FOX 2: "How are you keeping up?"

"Prayers and donations," she said.