Nationwide Network of Hunger-Relief Organizations’ Latest Survey Finds that 65% of Food Banks are Seeing More People Seeking Help from Food Banks, Food Pantries and Other Meal Programs
The latest Feeding America food bank pulse survey finds that the majority of member food banks, 65% in all, reported an increase in demand for emergency food assistance in June compared to the previous month. The survey was fielded in July and was completed by 172 out of 200 food banks in the Feeding America nationwide network. Nearly all responding food banks, 90%, reported seeing increased or steady demand for services amid record food price increases.
“Inflation is devastating to the budgets of families, seniors, and people just barely getting by, driving more and more of them to food banks and food pantries,” said Katie Fitzgerald, president and COO of Feeding America. “The problem we’re seeing is that food banks are not immune to these inflationary pressures. So, while they’re dealing with longer lines at distributions, they face soaring costs and other challenges to their operations.”
In addition to the increase in demand at food banks, Feeding America is facing supply chain issues that are ballooning operating budgets and forcing food banks to operate at deficits. A prior food bank survey found that around 70% say food donations are down and around 95% say food purchase costs are up, paying more for transportation and food.
“This is not a sustainable situation,” Fitzgerald continued. “Hunger in America is a problem that can be solved. There are 66 billion pounds of food that goes to waste every year. We need everyone to be a part of that solution; the government, private sector, food donors, and folks who can contribute and raise awareness about this solvable but really difficult problem.”
While the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September will focus on solutions to end hunger by 2030, Feeding America is asking for immediate support from USDA, Congress, and the private sector.
To address the current hunger crisis, Feeding America is putting out a call for support and everyone can get involved:
- Congress should ensure that food banks have the critical food resources and program flexibilities necessary to address the need for food assistance by fully funding The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and other critically important federal nutrition programs in annual spending legislation.
- USDA has been working proactively to strengthen implementation of nutrition programs across the board. USDA should build on this strong support and take any and all actions at their disposal to increase the availability of federal commodities, including:
- Using the Commodity Credit Corporation or other funds such as Section 32 available to support U.S. grown commodities and provide critically needed food purchases. This will help address some of the supply chain challenges and increased demand food banks are facing. USDA has bipartisan precedent for similar actions throughout the history of the department and multiple administrations.
- USDA should continue working proactively to help dairy producers and processors use the Dairy Donation Program to connect excess milk with nonprofits and communities in need.
- Food industry partners should reach out to Feeding America or local food banks to explore avenues for donation and food rescue. More information on becoming a food donor can be found at FeedingAmerica.org/donatefood.
- For individuals, donors and advocates, please continue to support Feeding America and local hunger-relief organizations, either by volunteering, donating food or funds, and calling on elected officials to support strong nutrition program legislation.
Food insecurity exists in every community across the United States, but not everyone experiences it the same way. The latest Map the Meal Gap research revealed extensive disparities by race and geography. Feeding America is asking for everyone to come to the table – policymakers, the business community, foundations, nonprofits, community leaders and individuals with lived experience – to co-create solutions and increase food access for all.
For more information about Feeding America’s hunger-relief efforts and to learn how to help, visit FeedingAmerica.org.
Please contact one of our media representatives or call 800-771-2303
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 Twitter.