Every dollar raised through the COVID Response Fund helps food banks and meal programs provide food to people affected by the pandemic. In 2020, Feeding America awarded more than $326 million in emergency funding to every member food bank in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Delivering more meals safely
During the coronavirus pandemic (March-January 2021), the Feeding America network of food banks distributed an estimated 6 billion meals to our neighbors who needed help putting food on the table. Thanks to your generous support, food banks, and food pantries were able to quickly adapt to a 55% increase in people seeking assistance while keeping staff, volunteers, and visitors safe through:
- Drive-thru food distributions
- Traveling or mobile pantries to meet people where they are
- Pre-packed food boxes
- Online scheduling for low- or no-contact food pickup
- Meal delivery for homebound neighbors
- Free meals for kids and families at schools and community organizations
- SNAP enrollment assistance via phone, text, and mail
- Expanded hours to serve more people safely
For example, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma partnered with Oklahoma City's public transportation network to deliver meals to homebound seniors across the metro area. Food bank employees then followed up with seniors to assist with submitting a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application to help provide additional food.
Funding for long-term success
COVID-19 emergency funding also allowed member food banks to make critical investments to improve their ability to store and distribute food to their communities.
Ozarks Food Harvest is just one food bank to benefit from these investments. Using emergency funding, they awarded walk-in freezers and coolers to eight partnering organizations, allowing them to increase the amount of frozen food they can order and store.
Filling food assistance gaps in communities
Emergency funds allowed food banks to step in when local food pantries and meal programs closed or suspend services due to safety concerns or significant declines in volunteers.
City Harvest in New York City used emergency funds to open 32 new distribution sites in neighborhoods where community food programs shut down due to the pandemic.
Creating jobs during record unemployment
The Feeding America network of food banks and food programs rely on millions of volunteers to keep programs running smoothly. Many regular food bank volunteers have decreased their volunteer hours or stopped volunteering because of the pandemic.
Thankfully, emergency funding allowed food banks to hire temporary staff to continue operations. These new employees have proven so critical to the COVID-19 response that many will join as permanent staff.