The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has been stockpiling food as it looks to fill the need of those that don’t have a steady food source during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency has seen a nearly doubling in demand for food assistance across the state and a national food supply that is faced with shortages as consumers across the country stockpile for their own needs.

Kate Rains, WSDA policy advisor told the Seattle Times, as many as 2.2 million state residents – 30% of the population – are facing food insecurity – more than double that what was seen last November before the pandemic hit.

“We’ve been in this very desperate situation starting toward the end of March,” WSDA Director Derek Sandison told the Seattle Times. “This [warehouse] is a continuation of our efforts to make sure we have fusions of product that will help us to continue to weather the storm.”

At the time that the pandemic hit, the state reportedly had a two-week supply of food through its three main food bank distributors – Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest, and Second Harvest.

“We went into panic mode,” Sandison continued. “That’s not an exaggeration. … So we jumped in with both feet and started active procurement on our end.”

As of July 1, WSFA has 1,200 to 1,300 pallets of food with $6.1 million spent on 4,000 pallets of food that only a quarter ordered has arrived. The state has received $76.2 million in state and federal emergency funding with a request pending for another $13.8 million.

But even if all the funding is receiving, it will only be enough to support WSDA through the end of 2020, the Seattle Times reported.

Washington has reported over 63,000 positive cases of the coronavirus, with over 1,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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