Crisis: U.S. Food banks running low or out of food

from Washington State:

OIC is also receiving early food shipments previously reserved for May and June. Last week, Barbosa said the food bank saw about 100 more people than usual in a day.

Food banks also need protective equipment. Barbosa said one of the major issues food banks face is a lack of masks, gloves and sanitizer.

“I see some of the food banks, if they don’t get the supplies soon … they may have to close,” Barbosa said. “We [put in] a request but we haven’t gotten it yet.”

On March 31, in response to the fluctuation in staffing, Inslee announced he would deploy the National Guard to help food banks. About 130 guardsmen will deploy to five counties — King, Pierce, Chelan, Franklin, and Walla Walla — to help unload, pack and distribute food.

Their length of stay is undetermined, said Karina Shagren, Washington state Military Department’s communications director, but they will help fill in the gap resulting from the decrease in volunteers.

Still, even with proper staffing and protective equipment, the real concern remains the same: food supply.

Families like Collins Veliz’s would be one of many affected by a food drought. As with many families facing food insecurity, Collins Veliz depends on school meals and food banks to help keep her cupboards full.

With $650 in monthly Social Security and $749 in food stamps, she has to be careful with her budgeting. Her 30-year-old son, also on Social Security, helps with rent and the electric bill, but it’s up to her to come up with the rest. She used to buy items at yard sales and thrift stores and resell them on an auction-style Facebook group. With both those options gone amid the COVID-19 closures, she’s out a few hundred dollars a month.

The outbreak has also affected the grocery supply chain, which has had an immediate impact on Collins Veliz.

“Because of people hoarding and buying all the food, I’ve had to buy more expensive food,” Collins Veliz said. “I don’t want to have to budget: if [the grandkids] are hungry. I want them to eat.”

crosscut.com/2020/04/pandemic-could-empty-washington-food-banks-two-weeks

Food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the Garden State, along with the food banks that may supply them with inventory, can already easily see an uptick in demand from the general public, as the COVID-19 emergency wreaks havoc on the economy and anyone’s normal routine.

Meeting the jump in demand, for now, doesn’t appear to be an issue. But organizations can see the increased need lasting for months, even after any sense of normalcy returns to New Jersey.

“I think we’re just at the start of it,” said Michelle Wilson, executive director of New Brunswick-based Elijah’s Promise.

The nonprofit’s soup kitchen on Neilson Street would typically serve about 150 meals at lunch, Wilson said.

“The other day, we had a record high of 271,” she said.

To make the process easier for individuals and families in need, Elijah’s Promise is also handing out dinner to-go during lunch pickup. All hand-outs are occurring at the door, typically resulting in “a long line down the block,” Wilson said.

Simon’s Soup Kitchen, operating out of a church in Seaside Heights, is serving close to 200 meals every Tuesday and Friday night. Volunteers would normally see 75 to 100 individuals.

Read More: NJ food banks see spike in demand and expect it to worsen

nj1015.com/nj-food-banks-see-spike-in-demand-and-expect-it-to-worsen/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

Uber Eats, New Jersey Natural Gas and Goya have each donated thousands of dollars of food to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uber Eats said Thursday it will donate 14,000 free meals to frontline health care workers and first responders throughout New Jersey.

The donation, worth $350,000, will go to doctors, nurses, and other health care workers at Cooper University Health Care, Hackensack Meridian Health, Holy Name Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Health.

Workers will receive a promo code they can use for a free meal up to $25 on the Uber Eats app or website. The meal pledge is part of Uber’s larger commitment to provide 10 million rides and food deliveries to health care workers, seniors and people in need.

New Jersey Natural Gas has made additional donations to food banks within its service territory, bringing its current total support to $125,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of that – $100,000 – went to Fulfill, which serves Monmouth and Ocean counties. Interfaith Food Pantry, serving Morris County, received $25,000.

The $100,000 contribution to Fulfill will extend FulFill’s Restaurant Partnership Program, which benefits both distressed local businesses and food bank clients. Fulfill launched the program in mid-March in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help meet the demand for food as soup kitchens and other feeding programs were forced to close.

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March 24:

Organizations that provide food to the poorest Illinoisans are shutting down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Other social service agencies, like homeless shelters, are struggling to adjust.

In the past two weeks, 112 Chicago-area food pantries have closed, 82 in Cook County — almost a quarter of the 370 food pantries served by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“The number is shocking” said Greg Trotter, spokesman for depository. “It hurts and it has an impact.”

In the 13 collar counties, another 30 food pantries closed in the past week, according to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, mostly because those who run them don’t want to risk exposure to COVID-19.

“Our pantries largely rely upon the help from volunteers, and a lot of our volunteers tend to be older folks, seniors who have time to spare,” said Liz Gartman, communications manager for the food bank. ”Many of those same folks are taking health precautions very seriously, as they should, so they don’t feel comfortable coming in.”

chicago.suntimes.com/coronavirus/2020/3/24/21192321/coronavirus-food-pantries-shelters-volunteers-employees

 

Images and video of miles of cars lined up at food banks in San Antonio and other cities across the U.S. present a striking example of the economic effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has thrown at least 16 million Americans out of work in recent weeks and increased pressure on the distribution centers to provide key staples for a flood of needy people in the country.

“Unforgettable image: thousands of cars lined up at a San Antonio food bank today, the desperate families inside kept safely apart,” tweeted CNN senior editor Amanda Katz. “Breadline, 2020.”

“It was a rough one today,” San Antonio Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper told the San Antonio Express News. “We have never executed on as large of a demand as we are now.”

The onset of the coronavirus outbreak brought with it economic paralysis across the U.S. and the world, shutting down businesses around the world as people use social distancing and isolation to curb the spread of the disease. In the U.S., where lawmakers have largely dragged their feet on providing unemployed people with help, Americans are increasingly turning to charities like food banks to provide the means of survival.

www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/10/unforgettable-footage-endless-line-cars-food-banks-stark-illustration-coronavirus

An unprecedented number of Americans have resorted to food banks for emergency supplies since the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread layoffs.

The demand for food aid has increased as much as eightfold in some areas, according to an investigation by the Guardian, which gives a nationwide snapshot of the hunger crisis facing the US as millions become unemployed.

Quick guide
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About one in three people seeking groceries at not-for-profit pantries last month have never previously needed emergency food aid, according to interviews with a dozen providers across the country.

The national guard has been deployed to help food banks cope with rising demand in cities including Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Phoenix amid growing concerns that supplies may run low as the crisis evolves. Overstretched food pantries are switching to drive-thrus and home deliveries to minimize the spread of Covid-19 as almost 300 million Americans are urged to stay at home.

www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/02/us-food-banks-coronavirus-demand-unemployment

American Airlines distributed more than 81,000 pounds of food to food banks across the country, through its partnership with Feeding America, to help restock their dwindling supplies.

Food banks have seen an uptick in visitors since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak because the of the virus’s financial impact on families. Air travel demands have also changed due to COVID-19, and American realized a surplus of food from its inflight service and Admirals Club lounges. Now, the airline is donating food ranging from breakfast items to fresh produce to support area food banks.

“We saw this as an opportunity to care for the communities where our team members and customers live and work,” said Ron DeFeo, Senior Vice President – Global Engagement for American. “The challenges facing local food banks and the growing need for families to utilize the resources these organizations offer have been well documented. Once we learned of the surplus, we knew exactly what we were going to do with it.”

news.aa.com/news/news-details/2020/American-Airlines-Donates-More-Than-81000-Pounds-of-Food-to-Area-Food-Banks-COMM-VOL-04/

As demand spikes, Alabama food pantries are running out of food and resources

At the Salvation Army’s food pantry in Birmingham, a line of cars wrap around the building. A center that serves 50 families on a typical Tuesday is suddenly serving hundreds, mirroring the trend of lines stretching at food banks and pantries around the country.

Some Alabama food pantries are worried the new demand could push them to the breaking point, while food banks, which help supply food pantries, have had to adapt on the fly in the wake of COVID-19.

www.al.com/news/2020/04/as-demand-spikes-alabama-food-banks-are-running-out-of-food-and-resources.html

For many farmers, it’s more cost-effective to let crops rot in the fields. They can’t afford to harvest it if there is no market for it, and food banks can’t cover the full cost of labor.

Last week, Isabel Solorio turned away five families from the Lanare food bank serving farmworkers in rural Fresno County.

There just wasn’t enough food to feed the 215 families who showed up. It was twice the number of families that needed food a week earlier, she said.

But that same week, on a farm just 20 minutes away, at least two fields of fresh lettuce were disced back into the ground, left to rot as the restaurants that buy the produce struggle to stay afloat. Solorio’s husband works on that farm and suggested that the farm donate the lettuce to a food bank.

“But who is going to pick it?” she asked.

The coronavirus has forced the entire world into disarray, but the food industry in particular. With restaurants closing or reshaping business models around slimmed-down take-out menus, the dominoes are starting to fall for the farmers who suddenly have nowhere to take their food.

And, at the same time, as more people find themselves out of work, food banks are teeming with hungry families. But getting food from fields to the hungry families that need it isn’t as simple as it sounds, industry experts say.

calmatters.org/california-divide/2020/04/california-farmers-coronavirus-food-supply-food-bank/

California’s food banks grapple with ‘tsunami of need’ as pandemic grows

One by one, students, teachers, young families and groups of elderly neighbors pulled up to visit a makeshift emergency food bank.

To minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus, workers from the food bank asked drivers to pop open their trunks so they could drop in a sack of produce and a box of pantry staples.

“This is my first time ever coming to a food bank,” said Dalia Garcia, as she drove through in an SUV with her husband, baby and mother. “I didn’t need it before,” she said as she collected a flyer explaining how to sign up for the state food benefits program. The pandemic put the 26-year-old hairdresser out of work. “I found out this was happening on Facebook, and I’m glad it’s here,” she said.

Quick guide
How you can help food banks in the Covid-19 pandemic
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A few cars down, Terri Birdzull, 59, agreed. “This is really needed,” she said. “There’s nothing at the stores! And if there is, it’s only the most expensive stuff left over.”

The event was organized by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, part of the national Feeding America network of food charities, to meet a sudden, unprecedented need. The demand for food aid has increased as much as eightfold in some areas, according to an investigation by the Guardian.

In California, despite efforts from federal and state governments to free up emergency food stores and mobilize the national guard to pack and distribute groceries, advocates worry about keeping apace as the logistics of feeding the hungry become more complicated.

When Leslie Bacho and the staff at the Second Harvest food bank in California’s Bay Area developed a disaster plan not too long ago, they planned for a big earthquake, widespread wildfires and other natural disasters. “Global pandemic was not even on the list of what we were thinking about,” Bacho said. “What we’re facing right now is truly unprecedented.”

www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/03/california-coronavirus-food-banks

In response to volunteer shortages in California, the governor, Gavin Newsom, enlisted the state’s national guard to help food banks package food for distribution. But staff at the state’s largest food banks said they were worried about how they would keep up with thousands who had never needed assistance before. “The thing is we don’t know how long we’ll have this help,” said Cassidie Carmen Bates at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. “And with that demand growing so quickly, we don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to put out food at this rate.”

Guardsmen had helped pack the weighty box that Roxana Samayoa, 38, struggled to carry back home after stopping by the emergency distribution center in Pittsburg. “I never thought we’d need food like this,” said Samayoa. She came to the US from El Salvador a year ago, along with her husband and three children, fleeing violence. “We were professionals there. My husband was a lawyer, and I a teacher,” she said in Spanish. Now, her husband – who had been working as a gardener – has been put out of work. And the preschool where she’d been helping out has closed. “I came here seeking safety,” she said. “But now I don’t feel safe.”

 

 

Food banks across America are warning that they cannot cope with the huge surge in demand caused by mass unemployment during the coronavirus.

With tens of millions of Americans unemployed, cities across the nation are struggling to meet the demand for food as long lines are seen outside nonprofits who are feeding those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Food banks from Maine to Washington have warned that donations have plummeted while demand has surged by many multiples etc

Motorists lined up for over a mile for emergency groceries offered Friday at a drive-up site run by a Pittsburgh food bank.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8209061/Food-banks-buckle-demand-warn-run-millions-Americans-hungry.html

With the rain pounding down, thousands of people lined up in their cars Friday morning at a San Diego Food Bank food distribution pop-up in Chula Vista. Food Bank officials say demand has gone up tremendously as an unprecedented number of people have lost their jobs amid the shutdowns brought on by the pandemic.

“We were feeding about 350,000 people a month before the crisis, we’re projecting we’re gonna start feeding 600,000 people this month,” said Jim Floros, the Food Bank’s CEO.

Floros said they’ve been doing these mass distributions to shorten lines at main distribution centers. The last one happened in Del Mar last week.

“People who’ve never been in need before, people who’ve never asked for help before are now needing help from the San Diego Food Bank,” Floros said.

One of those residents is Ricardo Hernandez, from Chula Vista. Hernandez says he’s not able to find work and has kids to feed.

“Because of the crisis we’re limited in being able to work, we can’t leave, we’re locked in the house”, said the Spanish-speaking Hernandez. “Now I have to take advantage of whatever help people give.”

www.kpbs.org/news/2020/apr/10/thousands-line-food-more-san-diegans-lose-their-pa/

As nearly 17 million Americans filed for unemployment in the past few weeks, it is no surprise many are seeking aid at food banks. The escalating demand, however, is barely being met with many fearing a shortage soon. Danya Bacchus reports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion citizens to fight the spread of coronavirus, urging people to distance themselves socially and work from home.

But social distancing means hunger for many in India, with a work force heavily dependent on manual labor. It would be an unheard-of luxury for the ragpicker or street vendor who lives day to day.

About 80 percent of India’s 470 million workers are in the informal sector, lacking contracts and unprotected by labor laws. Many are manual laborers in the fields, factories and streets of India.

www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/world/asia/coronavirus-india-lockdown.html

 

h/t DMG