SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The amount of hunger and hardship caused by the coronavirus was put into perspective at Cathedral of Faith church in San Jose, where hundreds of cars lined up for an organized food giveaway on Thursday.
But so many cars showed up nearby streets were gridlocked by an onslaught of the needy.
“We’re trying to serve as many cars as we can, and do it as quickly as we can. But the number of cars has been overwhelming,” said Pastor Ken Foreman.
But even he was surprised by the surging crowds that showed up Thursday. A double-wide lineup of cars snaked around the church’s parking lot and a spillover of cars jammed up surrounding blocks, even creating a backup on the Highway 87 freeway off ramp.
San Jose police had to direct traffic on Curtner Avenue, which was becoming gridlocked.
“We’re serving four times more people than we would normally serve here at Cathedral,” Pastor Foreman said. Church volunteers fill up shopping cards with food including meat and cheese, bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables and juices. These items would cost hundreds of dollars at the supermarket.
“In a typical month, we would do a million dollars a month in food giveaways. This week, we’ll do over a million dollars,” Pastor Foreman said.
A month ago, most of the people driving up were surviving on their own. But many lost their jobs and now can’t afford food.
“In this time, no working in a hotel. The hotel is closing for this pandemic,” said one driver who said he was furloughed.
Pastor Foreman says his church and partners like Second Harvest food bank are struggling to meet the surging demand.
“Jesus taught us to serve one another, we’re really looking to serve our community,” Foreman said.