Hunger Pangs Grow Across US As Pandemic Worsens Food Insecurity

Food banks continue to see a rise in demand, even in affluent areas. Meanwhile, grocery stores are beginning to stockpile necessities in preparation for a possible winter rush.

Food Insecurity In The U.S. By The Numbers 

With COVID-19 continuing to spread, and millions of Americans still out of work, one of the nation’s most urgent problems has only grown worse: hunger. In communities across the country, the lines at food pantries are stretching longer and longer, and there’s no clear end in sight. Before the pandemic, the number of families experiencing food insecurity — defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life — had been steadily falling. But now, as economic instability and a health crisis takes over, new estimates point to some of the worst rates of food insecurity in the United States in years. (Silva, 9/27)

A Crisis Within A Crisis: Food Insecurity And COVID-19

Over the summer, like many parents, I was looking to keep my kids productive after their summer jobs and summer sports camps were canceled. Together we came up with a project we’ve undertaken before — collecting books that our well-read and generous neighbors were ready to hand over — and delivering them to students and families who could use something new to read. But with schools closed, shelters and nursing homes off limits because of COVID-19, where to bring them? A neighbor connected us with a local school board representative, who was already delivering books to schools where food that would have been served for free or at reduced cost was instead packed up for families to pick up and eat at home. He invited us to add our contributions. After a couple of weeks of collecting, we packed up several cars with boxes and set out for our first drop. (Martin, 9/27)

In Affluent Maryland County, Pandemic Exacerbates Food Insecurity 

An hour before the food distribution event began in Bethesda, Md., on a recent Friday, a long line of cars was already winding through the parking lot. Volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church worked to unpack boxes of bread, prepared meals and coffee — enough for the first 200 people to arrive. Nourish Now, a Maryland-based nonprofit food bank, provides food for the weekly events.Waiting in his car, Peter Warner was sure to arrive early this time. Last week, the group ran out of meals within a half hour. (Martin, 9/27)

Some Virginia Food Banks See Demand Spike After Summer

Following the end of special federal benefits, this summer provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has risen even more in the DMV during a year already bringing significant demand for help. According to Capital Area Food Bank, which partners with over 450 nonprofit organizations in DC and the surrounding region, hunger is expected to increase by up to 60% in 2020 because of the pandemic. The spike equates to around 200,000 more people needing food. (Dempsey, 9/26)

In related news about food insecurity and the COVID crisis —

The Wall Street Journal:
Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead Of Winter 

Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush. Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge. (Kang and Gasparro, 9/27)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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