Fight to End Hunger During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Maintaining a stable food supply is a critical public health issue in the battle against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Around the state, food banks are reporting an increased demand for food due to record-breaking unemployment and lack of financial resources. To compound the problem, donations to food banks are down 70 percent, and food bank volunteers, who tend to be older adults, are not able to help process donations. The good news is, there are people who have stepped up to help, and you can too!
Currently, the most urgent need for food banks is monetary donations. There are advantages to donating money, rather than food, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food banks can purchase food at a reduced rate, so your dollar goes further in helping feed more people. For example, for every $1 donated, Second Harvest provides five meals for our neighbors in need. Another benefit to donating money is that it reduces the number of people going to the grocery store to shop for donations at a time when we are all being encouraged to distance ourselves physically. Second Harvest distributes food to help people in need in 26 counties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho through partnerships with more than 250 neighborhood food banks and meal centers. To donate money to feed people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Second Harvest website.
Another way to help feed people in need is by volunteering. Typically, older adults make up a large proportion of food distribution volunteers. Since older adults tend to be more susceptible to complications from the virus, they are being encouraged to stay home and stay healthy rather than volunteer. There are many local food distribution programs in need of volunteers including: Second Harvest, Meals on Wheels, local school districts, Spokane Food Fighters, and more. You can find a variety of COVID-19 volunteer opportunities by visiting the United Way website.
The last way you can help fight hunger is by sharing information about food distribution resources with friends, family and neighbors in need. People who live within Spokane city limits can call 311, Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., to get connected with food assistance programs and other services. Residents who live outside Spokane city limits can call 509.755.2489, during the same business hours, for assistance.
As the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand for food without community support. Staff, volunteers and national guard members are already working tirelessly to keep vulnerable people fed. They need YOUR help in this fight to end hunger. Please consider donating your money or time and help spread the word to support food continuity efforts in our community.