More Americans, including residents of the Denver metropolitan area, 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 Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, the data shows a pre-pandemic average of £ 17,838,139 distributed quarterly, with 41,677,685 being the post-pandemic average. Around £ 26,477,100 were distributed in the second quarter of 2020, when the effects of the pandemic were first registered, compared to £ 29,638,150 in the fourth quarter of the 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.
Don’t miss the latest news in Denver, Boulder, Arvada, Lakewood, and Littleton. Sign up for free patch news notifications and newsletters to see what you need to know on a daily basis.
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 location 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 New York City’s City Harvest Food Bank, 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 News Partner / Shutterstock
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 about 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.