How Feeding America and food banks are responding to Hurricanes Sally and Laura

September 17, 2020
by Paul Morello

What’s Happening?

The Gulf Coast has been devastated by two hurricanes in the span of just a few weeks.

Hurricane Sally made landfall on the morning of September 16 as a Category 2 storm near Gulf Shores, Alabama, packing sustained winds up to 105 mph. In addition to destructive winds, the storm dumped 30+ inches of rain on Alabama and Florida in a short time, causing significant flooding. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes and many more are sheltering without water, food, and electricity.

Early on the morning of August 27, 2020, Hurricane Laura slammed into the coast of Louisiana. When the storm made landfall near Cameron, LA, it was a Category 4 hurricane – the first of that strength to hit the area in decades. The storm brought damaging winds up to 150 MPH, storm surge and torrential rainfall, leading to flash flooding with some areas expected to see up to 18 inches of rainfall.

Both hurricanes have forced the evacuations of tens of thousands of people – who were already dealing with the ongoing challenges of the COVID pandemic. 

How are Feeding America and local food banks responding?

Feeding America is working with food banks in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas to mobilize our disaster response to ensure people impacted by both hurricanes have the food and resources they need.

Feeding America has deployed five truckloads of food and water - much of which was already staged in the area - to the communities impacted by Hurricane Sally. As the extent of damage and need becomes clearer in Alabama and Florida, Feeding America and local food banks will be providing meals and additional resources to support our neighbors impacted by the storm.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana and Texas, Feeding America, with the help of our partners, deployed disaster boxes of food, water and emergency supplies to communities impacted by Hurricane Laura. In the week following landfall, food banks in both states distributed more than 350,000 pounds of food to people impacted by the storm. Local food banks will continue to let Feeding America know how to best help their communities and are preparing disaster food distributions in the coming days.

In the wake of both storms, Feeding America is working closely with a network of national emergency response organizations such as the FEMA National Response Coordination Center, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and the American Red Cross. Feeding America is also working with member food banks and local emergency officials.

Hurricanes Sally and Laura are just the most recent in weeks of natural disasters devastating communities across the country. In Northern California, food banks have been working together to support wildfire evacuees. And, food banks in the Midwest are helping their communities recover from the derecho that spawned tornadoes, hail storms and destructive winds of up to 100 MPH. Whatever the disaster, Feeding America and food banks nationwide will continue to work together to ensure people get the food and supplies they need for the long road to recovery ahead.

How can I help?
  • Donate to Feeding America's Disaster Response Fund. While our neighbors along the Gulf Coast were already dealing with a challenging time, Hurricanes Sally and Laura have further upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Ensure local food banks can respond in the wake of the storm by supporting Feeding America's disaster response fund.

  • Donate to food banks in the impacted area. Donating funds is the most efficient way to support affected food banks as they respond to the need after a disaster. From purchasing extra food to putting gas in trucks, a monetary donation goes a long way at the local level. Find local food banks and make a donation.
  • Follow affected food banks on social media. Local food banks will know what they need most to respond in their community. Whether that’s food, funds or volunteers – watch their social channels to learn the best way to make a local impact.
  • Learn more about Feeding America’s disaster response efforts. Feeding America and local food banks are on the ground before, during and after a disaster, ensuring those impacted have food and hope during the toughest of times. Learn more about our national response.