Giving Compass' Take:

• Research indicates that 40% of low-income Americans were already facing food insecurity and struggled with consistent access to food for their families before the pandemic.

• COVID-19 intensifies food insecurity issues for families in the U.S. How can donors support and expand community support services? 

• Read more about addressing food insecurity brought on by COVID-19. 

And only 18% of them were able to stock up enough food for two weeks, the findings show, as states started closing schools and issuing stay-home orders.

Using data from a national survey of low-income adults in mid-March, Julia Wolfson and Cindy Leung of the University of Michigan School of Public Health measured household food security—the lack of consistent access to food—and challenges to meeting basic needs due to COVID-19.

“Our study shows that a robust, comprehensive policy response is needed to mitigate food insecurity as the pandemic progresses, particularly expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits, robust unemployment benefits, and ensuring access to food for children eligible for free and reduced-price school lunches through the summer and beyond,” says Wolfson, assistant professor of health management and policy.

“Doing so will allow us to better support the needs of the population as the spread of COVID-19 continues.”

The study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that 44% of low-income adults in the United States are food insecure and 20% have marginal food security, while 36% are food secure. Among those with low food security, 41% report not having enough food to feed themselves or their family, 36% report not having enough money to pay rent/mortgage, and half report not having enough money to pay their bills.

Individuals with low or very low food security are more likely to be Black or Hispanic, to have children in the home and have less than a college education. They are also more likely to rent their homes, not have health insurance or Medicaid, and are more likely to be receiving SNAP benefits.

Read the full article about food insecurity by Nardy Baeza Bickel at Futurity.