Grocery stores and large warehouses aren’t the only businesses that are having trouble keeping up with providing food staples during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, nearly 100 percent of food banks in the Feeding America network is serving more neighbors in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet nearly 60 percent are facing reduced inventory levels amidst rising demand. This is according to a recent survey by Feeding America, considered the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organization.

All 200 food banks in the Feeding America network responded to a survey between March 31-April 1 to identify critical gaps in funds, food, volunteers and distribution, according to a Feeding America news release.

In addition to the increased demand and declining donations to Feeding America, 95 percent of food banks reported higher operating expenses and 37 percent reported an immediate critical funding shortfall. These unprecedented strains are hurting food banks across the country.

“Last year USDA reported that 37 million people face hunger in America and the Feeding America network of food banks distributed 4.2 billion meals,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America in the news release. “This year, the COVID-19 crisis is driving more of our neighbors into food insecurity and putting a strain on food banks to provide more meals. Never has the charitable food system faced such a tremendous challenge, and we need all the resources we can get to help our neighbors during this terrible time.”

Since establishing the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 13, Feeding America has distributed $112.4 million and over 94 million pounds to food banks throughout the network, helping provide nearly 79 million meals to neighbors facing hunger, the news release added.

Feeding America announced in early April that an estimated $1.4 billion in additional resources will be needed over the next six months to sustain operations and continue to provide food for our neighbors struggling with hunger—a 30 percent increase to the baseline six-month operating costs of 200 member food banks nationwide.

Key Findings from the Feeding America survey since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March:

  • 98 percent of food banks reported an increase in demand for food assistance.
  • 59 percent of food banks reported having less inventory.
  • 95 percent of food banks reported higher operational expenses, and 37 percent reported an immediate critical funding shortfall.
  • 67 percent of food banks are accepting and need volunteers.

The Feeding America hunger-relief organization through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, provides meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.

Source: Feeding America