Food banks have seen a spike in demand since the pandemic struck. In communities across the country, millions of Americans -- even those who are employed -- are becoming more food insecure. A report issued last month by the nonprofit Feeding America found that 1 in 6 people (more than 50 million) could face food insecurity in 2020, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as "a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life." Before the pandemic left millions of families without stable employment, more than 35 million Americans struggled with hunger. The expiration of federal assistance programs has added to the crisis.
Images from across the country show long lines and people waiting hours for donated food to feed their families. Food banks are struggling to keep up with the demand. According to Feeding America, 80% of food banks are serving more people than they were this time last year with many people visiting food banks for the first time. Feeding South Florida is getting only about 10% of the food they were receiving in March at the beginning of the pandemic and funding will soon be slashed in half.
With the approach of Thanksgiving, thousands of families in the Orlando area are in need of food assistance due to COVID-19-related layoffs in the tourist industry and the expiration of supplemental federal unemployment benefits.
Over 5,000 families received holiday food items during the event that took place in a parking lot outside AT&T Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The food distribution was organized by Urban Dreams, a community empowerment NGO in central Des Moines, Iowa, and the NAACP. The Food Bank of Iowa said food insecurity in Des Moines has doubled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army's food pantry at Manning Field in Lynn, Massachusetts, served an average of 60 families a day. That number has increased to over 600 families daily as more residents face financial hardship and food insecurity.