This is going to be a hard holiday season for many this year. Families have lost loved ones, people have seen their jobs reduced or eliminated, and the last round of government aid is due to expire the day after Christmas. For many, simply putting food on the table has become a struggle. As reported in the Washington Post, the United States is facing a shortage of up to 8 billion meals in the next 12 months. According to the food bank network Feeding America, the result of soaring hunger amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand at food banks.
We’ve all seen the images on TV: hundreds of cars queued up in mile long lines, waiting for a box of groceries; people lined up outside of soup kitchens; volunteers unloading trucks of produce, cereal, and milk. According to the USDA, even before the pandemic hit, some 13.7 million households, or 10.5% of all U.S. households, experienced food insecurity at some point during 2019. The coronavirus pandemic has only worsened the problem. According to one estimate by researchers at Northwestern University, food insecurity more than doubled as a result of the economic crisis brought on by the outbreak, hitting as many as 23% of households earlier this year. Families that never needed help before cannot make ends meet this year.
If you can’t make a financial donation, you can still help out. Groceries still need to be collected, moved, repacked, and distributed. The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. They emphasize that donors, staff, and volunteers all play an important role in the effort to end hunger in the United States.