Safety constraints related to the coronavirus pandemic forced hunger relief organizations to eliminate key operations over the last year, including community meals and school-related programs, even as they struggled to meet increased demand for their services, according to a survey released yesterday by WhyHunger and Duke University.
In March 2020, Covid-19 forced the Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland, Maine, to close its dining room for the first time in 39 years. But, as Christian Letourneau reports in FERN's latest story, published with Eater, the soup kitchen staff went mobile, tracking and delivering meals and other services to the growing ranks of the hungry and homeless who scattered across the city as shelters and other aid operations shut down or restricted access. (No paywall)
As obesity becomes increasingly common in the U.S., food banks are trying to help their visitors manage diabetes as well as hunger, says The New York Times. Historically, food banks tried to satiate hunger with whatever food they could, even if it meant doling out chips and cans of sugary barbecue beans. But many of the people looking for food aid now suffer from poor nutrition and dangerous blood sugar levels, rather than too few calories.
The Capital Area Food Bank, based in DC, is using Big Data, "a pioneering technology that could one day revolutionize the war on hunger," says the Washington Post.
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.