SAN FRANCISCO, CA – When Dulce Gomez immigrated to the United States from Mexico, she said it was the kindness of others that helped her transition into a new life.

Now, at a time when many around her are feeling the damage from the economic ramifications of the coronavirus crisis, Gomez is determined to move it forward.

The woman from San Francisco is doing everything possible to help others as a San Francisco-Marin Food Bank volunteer in the coronavirus crisis.

“I believe there are a lot of people out there who need help and everyone who is available should do it,” Gomez said. “I’ve always had people to help me, and now it’s my turn to give it back to people.”

Gomez holds several roles at the Food Bank. She checks in volunteer passengers and helps with loading their vehicles, packs groceries and even delivers groceries to those in need. Sometimes she asks her 13-year-old son Luis for help.

Hearing her tell you doesn’t really sound like work.

“I’m really enjoying it, my heart feels like I’m doing something good for myself and for someone else,” said Gomez. “I feel great after doing it.”

Full Disclosure: I’ve been delivering groceries for the Food Bank since the pandemic started and I’m a colleague at Gomez. Your assessment of the Food Bank volunteer experience is consistent with mine and other volunteers I have spoken to.

Gomez is among the thousands of Americans who have embraced the Spirit to serve others during this time of great need.

Demand for food line aid has skyrocketed across the country since the pandemic began. Food insecurity has increased exponentially as unemployment climbed to its highest level since the Great Depression, reports the Associated Press.

The number of households in both counties that depend on the support of the Food Bank has almost doubled from 32,000 before the coronavirus crisis to 60,000.

Before the pandemic, the Food Bank delivered 260 seniors a week in both counties. That number has grown to around 12,000 per week.

Volunteers like Gomez have helped the Food Bank meet the increased demand. The Food Bank has almost tripled its volunteer workforce from 1,200 before the pandemic to over 3,000.

“I think it’s important for people to realize that the need in the community was always there before the pandemic, but the pandemic really made it clear how many seniors we have who don’t have weekly access to food,” said Cindy, Coordinator for Support to the SFMFB Community Said Lin.

The Food Bank has met this demand by increasing its delivery service. Before the pandemic, the Food Bank’s Pop-Up Pantries and Pantry at Home were the main source of supplies for households in need.

According to Lin, currently the SFMFB’s greatest need for volunteer delivery drivers is Tuesday through Thursday.

Those interested in volunteering can register on the SFMFB website.

Patch News Partner / Shutterstock

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness of the millions of Americans who are starving. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that by 2020 more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious foods to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a social patch project. Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how to donate in your community or find a pantry near you.