The food bank is seeing a 42 percent increase in food insecurity.By Andy Sheehan

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — The arrival of a coronavirus vaccine brings the hope that the pandemic may be coming to an end. But many people are struggling still.

Some 500 families lined up for food Tuesday in Washington County, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank says the demand has never been so high.

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“I’ve never done it before. So hopefully it is helpful,” said Lori Cook

People like Cook are looking ahead at the cold days of winter and stocking up, just trying to get through it all.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“Something has to give. I don’t know what it is. Maybe these vaccines will help, but I don’t know,” Cook said.

“We are seeing an unprecedented amount of need,” said Jordan Hartman of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

In its 40 years, the food bank has never seen such need, eclipsing even the dark days of the steel industry collapse. People like Chuck Thomas find themselves in need of help.

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“Unemployment checks weren’t really doing that much. They are every two weeks and it’s not a lot,” said Thomas.

The hope is that the vaccine and a rebound in the economy will make for a brighter spring. But the pandemic has already taken its toll. The food bank is seeing a 42 percent increase in food insecurity.

“Being a single mom of two, it’s rough,” said Letitia Frazier, who is working, but the times have made it much more difficult to make ends meet. “With schools being canceled, kids being home more, you’re going through a lot more food.”

Surviving the next few months will require perseverance and doing what’s necessary to get by, like waiting in your car for a box of food.

“It’s a blessing, so having to wait does not bother me. I’m just blessed that we can get the little extra help we can use,” said Dolores Roberts.

Distributions will continue throughout the region this winter. The food bank would like people to donate and will put those donations to good use.

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But the food bank says it has incredible support from the public and Pittsburgh’s foundations and has enough supply to meet this demand.