Workers at Second HarvestHeartland are handing out food at a recent chest truck event. As the cases of Covid-19 in Minneapolis increase, so does the demand for food, said CEO Allison O 'Toole.Courtesy: Second Harvest Heartland
The start of the pandemic of Covid-19 last year prompted millions of Americans to queue for food aid in the face of an unprecedented economic shock.
Now in the world As the second Thanksgiving approaches since the start of the pandemic, food banks say they continue to see high levels of demand for help from those facing food insecurity.
This includes the Minnesota food banks, which is seeing a new record of pre-holiday cases.
"Things really aren't much different from what they were a while ago. year for us "said Allison O 'Toole, CEO of Second HarvestHeartland, one of Feeding America's food shelves serving 59 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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The organization, which is more than two decades old, has seen a 30% increase in the number of people with access to medical assistance food, O 'Toole said.
These requests for help come among other challenges for the Minnesota community, O ' Toole said, including a patchy economic recovery and a "racial hunger divideWhere communities of color experience twice the food insecurity of their white neighbors.
Additionally, high inflation and supply chain issues make payment and 'getting more difficult goods.
"It's the perfect storm a year later, which is really sobering," O ' Toole said.
Government data indicates that the economic recovery is underway. The latest weekly jobless inions fell to the lowest level "since 1969 .
Yet there are also signs that many individuals and families are still struggling. According to data " from government surveys from September 29 to October 11.
Families with children are s " 'do less well, 12% of them saying they did not eat enough because they could not afford to pay for food.
Food prices have "increased by 4.8% in October compared to a year ago, according to the latest data. This compares to an overall price increase of 5%, the fastest since 1990, including food and energy.
Monthly child tax credit payments have helped alleviate food difficulties for families with children, according to Focus " on fiscal and policy priorities .
Ongoing stimulus efforts - including government checksad hoc and moratoriums on evictions - has also helped ease financial burdens over the past year, as well as reduce unemployment, said Michael Flood, president and CEO of the regional food bank of Los Angeles.
In 2020, the organization 's food distribution jumped 145%, he said. Yet this month it is still up over 100% from pre-pandemic volumes.
A food distribution event over the past weekend drew in 1,500 cars.
"We are still going through a fairly high demand for food situation and doing what we can to provide food to people," Flood said.
A Much of how areas have recovered depends on their Covid-19 infection and hospitalization rates.
But two major trends for 2021 - inflation and shortages of the supply chainent - have created widespread challenges.
In Minnesota, the price of ground beef has increased 25%, making it "impossible at the moment" "for Second Harvest Heartland, according to O ' Toole. Food prices overall are up 5% from a year ago, she said.
The food supply, which comes in large part of donations, has been more difficult for the Second Harvest Heartland teams. Recently, they received almost no meat, one of their most requested items. The Los Regional Food Bank Angeles is hosting a local drive-through food distribution event. The organization continues to see a significant increase in demand for food amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to President and CEO Michael Flood. : Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Other products, especially "cultural " food ingredients, like sauthis soybean, sriracha or jasmine rice, have become more difficult to obtain and more expensive. Other orders have experienced long delays.
"It 's very uncertain and unstable " said O ' Toole.
The chain problems 'supply has also affected the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, particularly in terms of driver and transportation shortages.
"We have noticed that the further away something, the longer it will take to time to get around, "Flood said.
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank predicts the art of 2022 is very similar to what they are experiencing now.
"It's hard to look to the second trimester because there are too many variables," Flood said.
For food banks that rely heavily on donations, much of their outlook will depend on the amount of money they raise in the remaining weeks of the year.
MEven if people can't donate financially, they can help by volunteering or raising awareness that it's okay to ask for help, O 'Toole said.
"Food insecurity is solvable," O 'Toole said. "That 's the big part of the problem.
" We know how to do this "he added. " We need the resources and the commitment community to do so. "