Charitable Food Assistance Participation

in 2020, 60 million people, or 1 in every 5, received charitable food assistance. An increase of 50% over the prior year

Starting in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic spurred an economic crisis that has had widespread effects. Many people already experiencing food insecurity experienced increased hardship and other people at risk for food insecurity faced new challenges in accessing the food they needed for themselves and their families.

While the pandemic did not invent the food crisis in America--in 2019, 35 million people experienced food insecurity--it did shine a spotlight on what has been an existing problem in the U.S. for decades.

As national awareness of the growing need for food increased, the federal and local governments passed sweeping legislation and disbursed new and additional resources to help people weather the storm. Along with the public response, the charitable food sector ramped up efforts in local communities across the county, serving at least 60 million people in 2020.


Learn more about the estimate and the methodology behind it.