How We're Responding to Food Insecurity Escalated by COVID-19

How We’re Responding to Food Insecurity Escalated by COVID-19

Travis ArnoldCEO and President, Feed the Children

The number of people suffering from food insecurity continues to rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for households with young children. In fact, current research shows that more than 17 percent of children in the United States now lack sufficient food — a rate three times higher than during the worst of the Great Recession.

The escalating food crisis children are facing today is alarming and calls for resourcefulness and resilience. Many children rely on school meals and feeding programs to survive. When children are guaranteed proper health and sanitation measures, they are able to prevent and fight disease, enabling them to develop both physically and mentally into strong children who become contributing members of their communities.

Coming Together to Fight Food Insecurity

With millions of Americans still out of work, experts are anticipating this to be the hungriest summer ever. Companies, individual donors, and community organizations are coming together to help ensure vulnerable families and communities don’t go hungry.

Supporting children and families during COVID-19

Our corporate partners are essential – through our joint efforts, we are able to provide food and essentials to those who need them most. It takes all of us working together to address these urgent issues.

Through their Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative, Herbalife Nutrition has supported our pandemic response efforts which allows us to continue our critical work.

How Feed the Children Has Adapted

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of our work in the U.S. as well as internationally. Every component of our operation has been impacted. However, our mission has remained the same: to provide hope and resources to those in need of life’s essentials.

These are some actions we have taken to adapt to the current situation:

We are increasing our reach.

Our work has increased during these unprecedented times. Eighty percent of our standard domestic work involves supplying community partners (like food pantries and soup kitchens) with bulk items they need to do their daily work. Our trucks have been and will continue moving across the U.S. to bring support to those families who need it.

We are expanding community partnerships.

Since the pandemic started, we’ve added numerous organizations from across the U.S. to our community partner network. The organizations we’re working with have delivered food and daily household essentials in a variety of ways, including door-to-door, by holding contactless drive-through events, and in some cases, call-in numbers have been made available for individuals to request these items.

Supporting families during the coronavirus pandemic

We launched our Summer Feeding Efforts early.

We began distributing food and essentials to community partners in March to ensure that children and their families continued to have consistent access to nutritious food despite schools being closed due to the pandemic. In the last three months, Feed the Children has distributed more than 18 million pounds of food and essentials to families across America and plans to continue its efforts through the summer months.

Why We Need to Maintain Momentum

Feed the Children exists with one goal: to end childhood hunger. It’s a cause that we continue to fight for every day. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the importance of our work across America to light as many families face unexpected challenges. However, defeating hunger is something that we’ve been working diligently on for more than 40 years.

While hunger is a primary concern for many people, it is not isolated to one specific event. Many families faced food insecurity and nutritional challenges prior to the pandemic, and the effects for families across America will be long-lasting.

It’s important to remember that everyone can help in the effort to defeat hunger. I hope you will take action with us if you are able and I want to encourage you to give today, no matter the amountPlease know that your donation may be the lifeline for a struggling family or child who lives in your community. That’s why every donation matters so much.

I also hope you will rally with our neighbors across the country to practice kindness, decency, and civility whenever possible. I know it’s alarming and it’s easy to feel helpless, but in each of our communities, there are opportunities to practice kindness. It may be something small like checking on elderly neighbors or buying gift cards from local businesses. For some people, it means staying at home to help minimize risk. There is no act of kindness too small.