By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Four months into the coronavirus pandemic in South Florida, the need for basic necessities, including food, seems to get direr each night.

“We are seeing 45-50% of people coming through our lines are first timers that have never asked for assistance before,” said Feeding South Florida President and CEO Paco Velez. “What you see in the faces, people’s reaction, it is heart breaking. Families coming though the lines desperate, do not know what is going on, do not know how long it is gonna last.”

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While the political leaders sort out issues and doctors save lives, Feeding South Florida provides a basic life line.

“Our distribution has increased. We have started to turn away cars. Had to increase the amount of food that we are distributing at the distributions from 700 to a 1,000 to 13-1,500. The need has picked up all across South Florida,” Velez said.

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Last year, pre-pandemic, nearly 52 million pounds of food was passed out. This year, already 118 million pounds with no end in sight.

The worry is that donations have dropped.

“As this continues to go on, we have seen a decline in response from the community in terms of financial contributions,” Velez said.

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The Feeding South Florida folks are gearing up for the reality they will be very busy through Thanksgiving and Christmas.