Record numbers show food pantries cause major concern of what’s to come in the winter months as more families deal with food insecurity.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in the US, 45.7 million people have filed for unemployment. In those months, and following, families facing food insecurity skyrocketed.
Before the pandemic, upwards of 40 million people in the United States faced hunger daily. After months into massive shut-downs across the country, a summer survey by the Brookings Institute reported that 27.5% of US families with children struggle with food insecurity. These numbers, according to the agency, equate to 13.9 million children.
The sharp increase of food insecurity prompted the Trump Administration and the USDA to launch Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a program under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that purchases food from farmers to “distribute agricultural products to those in need.” Since May, the program has given 100 million boxes of food to in-need families.
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“I have been meeting with food banks and recipients across the country and it’s been heartening to hear all the positive feedback on how the program has saved businesses and fed Americans in need. We are now into the third round of deliveries and we’re working harder than ever to continue to build on the success of the program,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
The Trump Administration budgeted Farmers to Families Program with $1 billion. Now finishing its third round of distribution, local food banks and families say it is not enough.
In Newark, in Antoine Hart, pastor of Freedom Church reported that he and a number of volunteers “served over 18,000 families,” in one day in August.
Dr. Melissa Noland-Chester reported to Ark Republic that she and her husband, Albert Chester have been part of food giveaways in northern Florida for months. When giving out food in Quincy, a predominantly Black town with a visible Latino immigrant population, they say that thousands of families line up for food. “It’s only gotten worse because of the coronavirus,” said Dr. Noland-Chester “[There has] definitely been an increase in need.”
According to the World Bank, estimated poverty rates will intensify “for the first time since 1998” by the end of 2020.
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