PINCKNEYVILLE (WSIL) — Food insecurity is a problem that has been heightened by the pandemic.

“24/7, 365 days a year, it don’t matter if it’s zero, or a hundred degrees. People got to eat.”

George Culley, president of Least of the Brethren Ministry in Pinckneyville, has been passionate about distributing food to people in need, since he started his food bank more than 20 years ago.

Since then the need has grown, which is why Erin McNamara – Stafford, says Molina Health Care sponsored Thursday’s food fair.

“There is a big need all over the state of Illinois, and in southern Illinois, for folks that need food. I mean, they’re out of jobs, they don’t have the income to provide food for themselves and their families.”

Clare Schroeder, with the St. Louis Area Food Bank, says food insecurity is up big time amid the pandemic.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of need, especially when it comes to food assistance‚Ķ We’ve been giving out more pounds of food and doing more food fairs. So a food fair, today we’re giving out, I think George said, about 18 thousand. These food fairs can be between 18 thousand and 25 thousand pounds of food.”

Culley says he’s thankful others have stepped up to help him feed 250 families again this year.

“We could not do it without them. We thank Jesus for them. My greatest decision 24 years ago was to be a USDA food bank.”

“It’s very important to be apart of the community in which you serve. If folks are worried about where their next meal is coming from, they’re not going to worry about their health and wellbeing,” says McNamara – Stafford.

Folks had to claim vouchers ahead of time for today’s food fair, but there are more opportunities available if you need help.

Friday morning at 9, The Love and Truth Church in Crainville, Illinois will be distributing food.