The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that while hunger exists in every community – some communities are hit harder by the economic inequality and racial injustice that causes food insecurity. To provide more equitable access to food, we invested $76 million in grant funding to food banks supporting Black, Latino, and Native American communities nationwide and rural communities in the South.
Below are some examples of what food banks have accomplished with this additional funding:
Expand into harder to reach areas or areas without food assistance
In Texas, the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank added mobile pantry sites in rural areas where there are few food banks or grocery stores. On the first day at one of the new sites, cars lined up for half a mile and many people came on foot and bicycles.
Golden Harvest Food Bank of Georgia dramatically expanded its mobile markets when other options closed due to the pandemic. With so many Black community members living in poverty before the pandemic, Golden Harvest will continue to support their neighbors into the future.
To reach rural communities, East Texas Food Bank replaced aging vehicles with new, dependable trucks. These new trucks helped East Texas provide millions of meals to families while they were sheltered in place.
Deepen partnerships with established community organizations
The Montana Food Bank Network provided grant funding to organizations already serving Native American communities across the state. These funds helped Flathead Food Bank purchase additional storage space to ensure that Blackfeet Nation residents had enough food and supplies while sheltering in place.
Second Harvest Inland Northwest in Washington state partners with a local school district’s migrant education program to host monthly mobile markets specifically targeting rural migrant farmworkers. Since September 2020, these distributions have served 1,400 families.
United Food Bank shifted grant funds to help enhance tribal partners' hunger-relief work, including the Nalwoodi Denzhone Community, which serves the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. The food bank also purchases food from tribal farmers and food producers. The food bank worked with tribal leadership to hold distributions when food programs on tribal lands were closed, serving over 2,400 households.
Provide services and support in the language our neighbors speak
To help more people access food, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank worked with immigrant-focused community organizations to improve information about finding food assistance and the foods typically available for native speakers of Spanish, Pashto, Dari/Farsi, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, Swahili, Mandarin and French.
Food Bank for Larimer County recruited more Spanish-speaking staff to ensure all food distributions have at least one bilingual staff member and expand programs available in Spanish.