HOUSTON – More Americans, including residents in and near Houston, are starving as the coronavirus pandemic hits its 13 month mark. According to the Associated Press, food banks across the country have been distributing more food every quarter since the pandemic began.
At the Houston Food Bank, the data shows a pre-pandemic average of £ 37.4 million distributed quarterly, with £ 110.1 million being the post-pandemic average. £ 79.4 million was distributed in the second quarter of 2020 when the effects of the pandemic were first registered, compared to £ 66.1 million in the fourth quarter of the year.
According to the data, the Houston Food Bank reported a 193.9 percent increase in distribution from before the pandemic began through 2020. In the third quarter of 2020, the distribution more than doubled with an increase of 109.1 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. In the last quarter of 2020, the distribution increased by 67 percent compared to the previous year.
According to an AP analysis of 181 food banks within the Feeding America network, food distribution increased 48.6 percent in the two quarters after the pandemic started, compared to the four quarters before the pandemic.
Virtually all food banks reported higher distribution numbers during the pandemic, with only a handful scattered across the country actually reporting a decrease in distribution. However, the AP noted that food distribution data can be “extremely volatile” from quarter to quarter due to vacation schedules, donation trends, and local economic problems.
Feeding America is the largest food distribution organization in the United States, but the 181 food banks included in this data set represent only “a small fraction” of the number of organizations across the country serving people who suffer from food insecurity.
Even so, food insecurity has become a heightened concern for millions of Americans in the face of the ongoing pandemic. For people in financial difficulties, this means that food is at the bottom of their list of priorities.
“This is the fourth week without a paycheck,” Adriana Rosas told Feeding America in 2020 as she picked up groceries for her family at a distribution facility in New Braunfels, Texas.
“I was strategic with my last one and stretched it out as far as possible,” said Rosas. “After paying for rent and electricity, I got to think about groceries – it’s crazy to say groceries come last.”
Year-over-year, the food banks in the Feeding America system distributed 56.5 percent more food in the third quarter of 2020 than in the same period in 2019.
Similar trends have been reported in food banks in major cities and towns across the country.
At City Harvest Food Bank in New York City, one of the largest in America, the average amount distributed before the pandemic through the end of 2020 rose from about £ 17.1 million per quarter to about £ 52.3 million.
At the Catholic Charities’ food bank in much smaller Terre Haute, Indiana, distribution rose from an average of £ 973,000 per quarter in 2019 to about 2.2 million by the end of 2020, an increase of 129.8 percent.
The largest pre-COVID-19 percentage increase to date was at the Yuma Community Food Bank in Yuma, Arizona, where data shows a remarkable 1,797 percent increase.
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness of the millions of Americans who are starving. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that approximately 42 million Americans may not have enough nutritious foods to eat in 2021 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a social patch project. Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how to donate in your community or find a pantry near you.