Feeding America Network Stays Resilient During COVID-19 Crisis

May 12, 2020

While nearly 100 percent of food banks in the Feeding America network continue to serve more neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are working tirelessly with partners to keep inventory of food and resources high. This is according to the most recent survey by Feeding America®, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organization.

Ninety-seven percent of food banks in the Feeding America network responded to a survey between May 4-6 to identify critical gaps in funds, food, volunteers and distribution. The majority have seen an increase in demand, from 10 to 200 percent, with an average increase of 59 percent. 

With the help of monetary contributions to the COVID-19 Response Fund and critical partnerships with donors in the supply chain, food bank survey respondents continue to serve their communities and no food bank has shuttered as a result of the pandemic. Only 8 percent of food banks report concern over potentially running out of food and ceasing operations in the next two to four weeks. However, an average of 18 percent of food pantries and meal programs that food banks partner with have had to close or suspend operations in the wake of the pandemic.

Still, nearly 33.5 million people in America have filed for unemployment due to the crisis, and food banks will continue to work hard to meet increased demand. In fact, nearly 40 percent of neighbors being served by the network are new to seeking food assistance. To address hardships, 30 percent of food banks are still accepting and in need of volunteers, while 53 percent of food banks or agency partners have deployed the National Guard for support.

Food bank respondents reported distributing a total of 136 million pounds of food – or 113.6 million meals – to neighbors facing hunger during the week of April 27.

Key Findings 
According to the survey conducted May 4-6:

  • 98 percent of food banks reported an increase in demand for food assistance compared to this time last year, with an average increase of 59 percent
  • Food banks reported an average of 38 percent of neighbors being served are new to charitable food assistance
  • Two-thirds of food banks are still accepting of volunteers
  • 53 percent of food banks or agency partners have deployed the National Guard for support


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.3 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on X.com.