A food pantry in Devens, Massachusetts, is temporarily closing its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Inc. announced that it would temporarily close Friday because of difficulties keeping clients, volunteers and staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pantry serves six towns in the central Massachusetts area: Ayer, Devens, Dunstable, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley.
Loaves and Fishes provides food and clothing to over 500 families in the area every month, according to the pantry.
“We know our clients depend on us to make ends meet and understand that many need us even more in the current circumstances. This was not an easy decision but it was a necessary one,” the pantry wrote in the closure announcement.
Nearby food pantries, like the Westford Food Pantry, have had to limit their hours and number of volunteers due to coronavirus concerns.
On Wednesday, Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief organization, estimated a need of $1.4 billion in additional resources for food banks across the U.S. in the next six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unemployment claims across the country continue to surge as many people are forced to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. There were 181,062, unemployment claims in Massachusetts as of Thursday.
Middlesex County, where Loaves and Fishes is located, has 2,202 COVID-19 cases as of Friday.