Millions go hungry as America reels from pandemic’s effects

Millions go hungry as America reels from pandemic’s effects
Victor Alvarado Garcia, nine, watches a volunteer put food inside his family’s car outside the Walworth County Food Pantry in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, in October. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: As winter holidays approach in the US, many people in the country would not just miss out on celebratory meals because of isolation forced on them by the pandemic, instead millions of Americans will go literally hungry due to the deep economic crisis gripping the country.

Tens of millions of Americans have long faced hunger, but the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 323,000 dead in the country and devastated the economy, has worsened lack of access to sufficient food.

At least 35 million people faced hunger in the United States before Covid-19. That figure, according to Feeding America, includes more than 10 million children. But in 2020, more than 50 million in the US might struggle with hunger. At least 17 million of them children.

Bryan Singleton, executive director of Action Pact, said the need for food assistance has “quadrupled” since Covid-19 hit. Action Pact is a social services organization that operates five food banks in rural Georgia.

He said: “We’ve had food distributions where we’ve literally had hundreds of vehicles lined up to get food.”

“We live in a food desert anyway, we’re a very rural area. It was just exaggerating what we experience on a normal basis.”

Singleton said that the surge in need stemmed from widespread and sudden unemployment that came in the wake of the pandemic business closures and slowdowns. That drives a lot of Americans to stay hungry.

The holiday week presents another challenge because some places which provide food will be closed for a day or two. Singleton said that Action Pact has been working with local churches and organizations to ensure that people who need food this week can still get help.

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