More than 53 million Americans turned to food banks, pantries, and meal programs last year, one-third more than before the pandemic, said Feeding America, a network of food banks and hunger relief groups, on Wednesday.
Two of every five people visiting food banks "never had to ask for help for food" before — a gauge of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the chief operating officer of Feeding America. Katie Fitzgerald said food banks are facing, on average, a 70 percent increase in demand. (No paywall)
Last week, Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, announced a plan to boost the nutritional content of food distributed at food pantries, including more fresh produce, whole grains, and lean proteins, reports The Washington Post.
A report from the antihunger group Feeding America says that food insecurity rates are highest in rural counties and in the South, says the news site CityLab. For the report, Feeding America combined data from USDA, the Census Bureau and the Labor Department "to stitch together a portrait of food insecurity at the state and county levels," says CityLab, with Jefferson County along the Mississippi River in southwestern Mississippi having the highest rate in the nation, 38 percent.
The largest U.S. hunger-relief charity, Feeding America, says two out of five client households "have at least one member that has worked full-time but still utilize charitable food programs to make ends meet."
There are 121 food banks at colleges, up from four in 2008, says a Michigan State University group in a Washington Post story that says high costs and limited funds force some students to go hungry.