While more people in the North Texas area are in need of food, Food Banks experience volunteer shortage amid Omicron wave

Dallas, Texas – While Omicron continues to spread across North Texas keeping the infection rate high, more and more North Texas residents hardly hit by the pandemic are in need of food and different types of everyday goods and products.

Hospitals, airlines, local businesses, everyone is affected by the recent Omicron wave leading to staffing shortages making it difficult for companies to remain open and operation during these difficult times.

The North Texas foods banks are also experiencing staffing shortages as a result of the lower number of volunteers just when more and more people are in need of food.

“We’re seeing this huge downward trend in the number of people who are coming out to volunteer,” Tarrant Area Food Bank President and CEO Julie Butner said.

“Last quarter, our volunteer numbers were extremely low, they were about 6,800 and normally they would be closer to 12,000,” North Texas President and CEO Trisha Cunningham said. “Since Omicron has happened and after the holidays, we’ve seen a real serious decline in volunteers overall.”

The North Texas Food Bank is seeing around a 50% cancellation rate daily in expected volunteers.

“So many of our volunteers are those corporate volunteers and they will sign up for a volunteer shift,” Cunningham said.

“What happened with Omicron is many companies still encourage their employees to stay home and work if they could or they sent them back home to work if they could and so if they are going to send them home, they’re not going to organize these volunteer activities for their employees to come together.”

“With Omicron circulating, we just continue to have these volunteer shortages,” Butner said. “Corporations really haven’t come back at full speed. Especially the national corporations.”

Both Butner and Cunningham encourage the potential volunteers to come to the help claiming there are pandemic safety protocols in place.

People who are interested in volunteering can find more information at ntfb.org and tafb.org.

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