By Anaridis Rodriguez

REVERE (CBS) – On this Monday night, volunteers at a pop up food pantry in Revere moved with deliberate haste. About 15 of them worked together, fast and focused, to pack hundreds of brown paper bags with food. By Tuesday, 600 of those bags will be handed out on behalf of the First Congregational Church of Revere Food Pantry.

“Some of these people don’t have any food at all,” said food pantry director, Wendy Baur. “They’re staying in line for just a bag or two of food, that shows you that they really need something. A lot of these people have lost their jobs.”

The church pantry has been in operation for 36 years and the demand for services is at an all-time high. The organization is one of 600 distribution partners in the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) network. To better serve its growing list of clients, the operation temporarily moved to the offices of the Revere League for Special Needs.

“We used to get 8,000 pounds of food a month. And right now we’re getting 12-18 thousand pounds of food a week,” said Baur.

GBFB Spokeswoman Catherine Drennan says in response to the pandemic, the food bank has helped distribute the equivalent of 81 million meals. They’re currently serving an estimated 600,000 people, more than double the number of people pre-pandemic.

“It has been truly crushing, truthfully, in terms of food insecurity and the demand on our system,” said Drennan. “I think the most challenging part of this, is getting the food into the hands of those who need it most. So many people are isolating. It’s a harder to distribute the food.”

Drennan said working-class communities, dealing with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, are seeing the biggest surge in demand for services. Their message ahead of the holidays is if you can help please do. Small financial donations can go a long way. And if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask.

“If you are in need of food there are resources out to help you,” Drennan said. “There is no shame in seeking help.”

Anaridis Rodriguez