By John Vibes
In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, food banks across the United States have seen unprecedented lines with struggling families hoping to get some help for the holidays.
A report from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank estimated that roughly as many as 1 in 4 households in the state was facing food insecurity. Food banks in the state have seen a 26% increase in demand this year.
“I don’t think we’re going to get through this unless Congress approves another COVID-19 relief bill,” the food bank’s executive director told The Providence Journal.
The North Texas Food Bank told the Dallas Morning News that their location handed out roughly 8,500 meals, which us up from about 1,000 on an average year, according to The Hill. Some reports have indicated that people waited in line for over 5 hours at some food banks.
Food bank lines are growing as a pandemic-fueled ‘perfect storm’ is pushing more than 50 million Americans into food insecurity pic.twitter.com/iCjNTF17n3
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 25, 2020
“We know that people need food or they wouldn’t be in line,” said Trisha Cunningham, CEO of the food bank. “We want to make sure anyone that needs food has access to it.”
Record-setting years were also reported in places like New Jersey, California and pretty much everywhere in between. The events of this year have left millions out of work, and they have very few places to turn for help.
Katie Fitzgerald, the EVP and COO of Feeding America, said that they have seen a huge surge in demand this year, since the pandemic and resulting lockdowns began.
Hit by hard times, cars line up for miles, some wait 5+ hours for food donation @brynnCNN reports @EricaRHill pic.twitter.com/XG9SNBsl2y
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) November 24, 2020
“This year is especially hard, because of course we are seeing consistent surge in demand at Feeding America food banks all across the nation,” Fitzgerald said.
Food banks are also extremely overwhelmed and running low on donations in some places.
If you want to help and contribute to a local food bank, Feeding America has a nationwide list of community food banks in your area, searchable by zip code. They’ll be looking for cash donations, holiday food items, or volunteer time.
Thousands of cars lined up to collect food in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend, stretching as far as the eye can see. pic.twitter.com/xLFGOcBkPK
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 16, 2020
Last month, The Department of Agriculture was ordered to start including a letter from President Trump in federal food aid boxes, in which he takes credit for “sending nutritious food from our farmers to families in need throughout America.”
Unemployment claims continue to rise throughout the United States. Last month, the US Department of Labor announced that there were 751,000 new claims for the week ending in 10/24. Insured unemployment was 7,756,000. This month, the numbers have increased significantly, as noted in the update below.
Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims
Initial claims were 778,000 for the week ending 11/21 (+30,000).
Insured unemployment was 6,071,000 for the week ending 11/14 (-299,000).https://t.co/ys7Eg5LKAW
— US Labor Department (@USDOL) November 25, 2020
Also, it is important to note that the official unemployment numbers are only representative of a small portion of the market, there are many people who worked in the informal economy or people who otherwise don’t have access to unemployment benefits who aren’t counted in these figures. Unemployment figures only count people who have applied and been accepted for unemployment, not everyone who is out of work.
The longest food bank lines in decades in the wealthiest nation in the world. pic.twitter.com/jwgxEqJkox
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) November 23, 2020
Source: The Mind Unleashed
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