COVID-19 presented a perfect storm of increased demand, declines in donations of food, and disruptions to the charitable food assistance system’s operating model. Through it all, food bankers, volunteers, and partner agencies have been on the front line ensuring our neighbors have the food they need during this difficult time. Food banks have become accustomed to the new level of increased demand, which has consistently been an average of around 60% more neighbors compared to the same time last year.
After nearly ten years, food insecurity levels for most communities across the country had reached their lowest levels in 2018, according to Map the Meal Gap. Projections analysis show that the progress made to food insecurity in the U.S. will likely be wiped out and food insecurity rates may climb higher than the peak of the Great Recession. Feeding America has projected that up to 54 million people (1 in 6) could be food insecure in 2020, a 46% increase. This would include 18 million children, or 1 in every 4 children, (+ 6.8 million compared to 2018) who could be food insecure in 2020 as a result of this crisis.
From March 1 through July 31, our Network (including FANO-sourced product) has distributed an estimated 2.5 billion meals (3 billion pounds) to people facing hunger in the United States. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Feeding America and our network of 200 food banks have also worked closely with lawmakers and USDA to address the increase in demand for food assistance. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act both provided critical investments for families facing hunger. Hunger is not partisan issue; our network of food banks serves every congressional district in the nation. Food banks are doing everything they can to meet the need, but they cannot do it alone. As unemployment continues and grocery prices are growing, people need a boost in SNAP benefits to make ends meet and provide necessary economic stimulus at the local level.
Below, you can learn more about finding food in your community as well as the Feeding America Network’s COVID-19 response and resources to support your public health and food insecurity response.
Find a local food pantry or learn more about federal programs that are here to help.
Our resources library is curating resources to help you in your public health response to COVID-19 and food insecurity.
This website is for our partners to find resources related to federal nutrition programs and learn more about issues that are critical to helping us ensure families have access to food during this pandemic.
“Feeding America is relieved that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended critical school nutrition waivers until the end of the calendar year.”
In this Q&A blog, Todd Giesen, the Behavioral Health Program Director for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, describes what the pandemic means for hunger in indigenous communities and opportunities for strengthening Native communities’ access to food during these uncertain times.
Jeremy Arnold is a programs specialist on Feeding America’s health and nutrition team. He is a former food banker with Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and an alum of the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship program.