Select Page

The COVID-19 pandemic has had so many difficult impacts beyond the immediate health risks of infection, sickness, and even death. When economies are shut down and people lose their jobs, food security—the ability of people to reliably access affordable and nutritious food—is dramatically reduced too. Even before the pandemic, according to Feeding America, 38 million Americans, including 12 million children, faced hunger. But now, because of the pandemic, that number has gone up in the US to more than 50 million people—that’s one in six Americans, and one in four children! 

National Geographic has been chronicling the rise of food insecurity in the US in a series entitled, “Hunger in America.” Beginning with a stark look at miles-long food bank lines in November 2020, National Geographic shows how hunger affects communities all around the US–in Minnesota, West Virginia, Texas, New York, and elsewhere. For many people, this is the first time they’ve needed to ask for help. One food bank in North Texas described the change as follows:

Before the pandemic, the food bank’s clientele were largely employed people who needed extra help to make ends meet. Now, many of them told Cunningham they’d lost their jobs. And a third of those being served, she estimates, had never needed assistance before.


“People are seeing hunger like they’ve never seen it before,” she says.

And as Adam Minter, a writer at Bloomberg, points out in an article entitled, “America’s Hunger Pandemic is Getting Worse,” this hunger crisis has continued as the pandemic goes on. He writes, 

In 2020, government aid helped fill such gaps. But many of those programs ended over the past year, while private donations have often dried up. Food banks have increased their purchases by 58% compared to 2020, but rising prices and supply-chain disruptions have meant that those purchases don’t go as far as they once did, imperiling nutrition for those who can least afford it. 

In other words: Now is not the time to stop helping! Food insecurity and hunger are still very real problems for many people in the US (and across the world), and help is still needed.

So what can we do to help? I really recommend looking into what you can do on a local level. I found Cooking for Community, an initiative based in Portland, Maine, from local news coverage. Cooking for Community is a brilliant idea—the money they raise pays local restaurants to produce delicious meals to give to those in need. Wow! Cooking for Community supports local restaurant businesses—which have also been really impacted by economic shutdowns and the health concerns of the pandemic—and feeds hungry people at the same time. That is a smart idea! And what’s even more inspiring is that Cooking for Community started small, with an idea that began with an agreement between just two restaurants and a few social services organizations, and that it has now grown to expand to many restaurants, many organizations, and even different cities in Maine. This is the kind of idea that anyone can make happen, with some time and effort and passion. And what a difference it makes to the thousands of people it serves every week!

If you want to donate to this Portland, Maine organization, please find their donation page at the Cooking for Community website! But of course, you can also do a google search to find a local initiative in your area too—or even start one on your own!

Thank you, Cooking for Community, for making the world a better place!