The first months of the food bank response to COVID, by the numbers

Food bank volunteer carrying boxes
July 21, 2020
by Paul Morello

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, good news can be hard to come by. But we've got some news you should be incredibly proud of: together, we're making a tremendous impact. Because of you, Feeding America and food banks across the country are making sure our neighbors impacted by the crisis have the food they need. At a time when so many people are visiting food banks for the first time, your support is driving our strong daily response. Want to know just how much we've done together? Check out some stats below.

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1. From the beginning of March through the end of June, food banks nationwide distributed more than 1.9 billion meals to people facing hunger in the United States. In March alone, food banks gave out 20 percent more food than an average month. 

Well, that’s a lot of meals! 1.9 billion meals are enough to provide every single resident of California (that’s more than 39 million residents in 2019) with breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than two weeks. Basically, it’s a big increase in the amount of people visiting food banks. 

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2. If people continue to visit food banks at this rate, we will provide an incredible six billion meals this year. It takes an out-of-this-world level of support from generous neighbors across the country to sustain that level of response during the pandemic. So, it’s appropriate to compare that number to something not on this world: the moon. If meals were miles (work with us, here), six billion meals would get you to the moon and back a whopping 25,000 times, with a couple trips to spare. 


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3. As a result of the pandemic, Feeding America estimates 1 in 6 Americans could face hunger.

As simple as that stat is, it’s also one of the most stunning. Because of COVID, more people than ever before are visiting food banks and many of them are getting help for the first time. Our neighbors who previously had stable incomes have now lost jobs or had their hours cut back. And food banks are stepping up, as they always have, to put food on the table for those who need it during this uncertain time. 

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4. Two-thirds of Feeding America food banks across the country are accepting volunteers.  

Many food banks need your help and have volunteer opportunities available right now! Before the pandemic, food banks relied on the generous time of nearly 2 million volunteers per month. Since COVID-19, volunteer numbers are down, but the need is even higher, as many regular volunteers are in the higher-risk category and are staying home. And there are many ways to help food banks right now in person or at home, including donating to our response fund.