During the novel coronavirus outbreak in 2020, more Americans are seeking help to keep their families fed as the economy contracts during the pandemic. Here are six solutions to prevent food insecurity over the next few months.
1. Food banks. These are critical resource for people in need of food. Even before the crisis, more than 37 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, including more than 11 million children. Children are the largest demographic that struggles with hunger. Now more than ever, your local food bank stands ready to provide sustenance for your family.
During these unsettling times, some food banks have altered operations, adding more mobile or “drive-thru” distributions wherever possible. National efforts to collect food and financial donations are being launched, in an effort to ensure that all needs are met.
To find a food bank near you, visit https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank.
2. Meals on Wheels. This venerable organization operates in nearly every community through 5,000 independently run programs. Specifics of each program may vary, but they all share a common commitment to helping seniors in the community to live healthier lives by providing nutritional sustenance. These meals are often offered through local Councils on Aging. To find out more about your local Meals on Wheels program, visit https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals.
3. Salvation Army. This long-standing non-profit offers myriad opportunities to feed communities. They provide mobile meals to those who cannot reach a food distribution center and host food pantries with free fresh produce, canned goods, and healthy frozen items. To learn more about Salvation Army services near you, visit https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/cure-hunger.
4. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, is a federal program that helps millions of low-income Americans put food on their tables. The recently passed stimulus bill increases funding to cover the projected increase in SNAP applications and to make it easier for people who already receive SNAP benefits to access food and related benefits. Learn more at the SNAP website.
5. Schools. For many students, the meals they receive at school represent a major portion of their nutritional needs. Even when they are closed, many schools are providing meals for students through pick-ups at school buildings. In some cases, students must meet specific income requirements, while other programs are open to any student in need. To find out where school meals are being served, visit www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids.
6. Social Networking. Even though we're all practicing social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we can draw closer together in a different way. The social networking app Nextdoor introduced a Help Map to their site that lets neighbors connect with each other and offer assistance to the elderly and others who are at risk and who are unable to shop for groceries or pick up prescriptions. Facebook has also launched a Community Help hub for COVID-19, which allows people to request or offer help during the outbreak.
Download our free Financial First Aid Guide! It'll walk you through the best ways to manage your money during uncertain times. We’ll show you how to take inventory and review all your expenses, assess your debts, prioritize bills and communicate with creditors, and so much more!
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