By Dan Koob

DEPTFORD, N.J. (CBS) — Food insecurity continues to be a hardship for families in the region. A vital food bank in South Jersey is on a mission to feed.

Just before Thanksgiving, the food insecurity level at the Food Bank of South Jersey was reaching critical mass.

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“If you were talking about a hurricane, it would require this warehouse to be in the spot where the hurricane hit and it would have to hit day after day after day to even compare to this,” Greg Delozier, senior director of advocacy at the Food Bank of South Jersey, said.

Now on the eve of Easter, the numbers aren’t much better.

The food bank feeds four counties in South Jersey, and according to them, all four have seen a rise of at least 40% in food insecurity since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. That number is as high as 60% percent in Gloucester County.

“It’s staggering,” Julia Krug, co-director of Laurelwood Community Services, said. “And the hardest calls, as the pastor has mentioned, are those experiencing it for the first time to have to find resources for their families and never having been in this situation.”

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The Laurelwood Seventh-day Adventist Church in Deptford is one of over 200 places the Food Bank of South Jersey helps. They say they’re not just serving up food for those in need, they’re serving up hope.

“We’ve had food banks operating here for a dozen years, at least. It was every other week,” Pastor Mike Gill said. “With COVID, we stopped it up to every week.”

“It’s a brave thing to do, it’s a hard thing to do because men want to the providers for their families. And then for the moms, our single moms, it’s a brave thing to do because they’re always up against it,” Krug said.

Currently, one in every eight people and one in every five children are struggling with food insecurity in the county, according to the food bank.

Here in Deptford, the hope is anything will do as Easter approaches.

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“And for many, providing these resources, this, for many, will help,” Krug said.