Giving Compass' Take:

• Since officially distinguishing COVID-19 as a pandemic, home delivery requests from food pantries have increased significantly across the United States.

• How can donors think about the long-term needs of food pantries and offer support during this time? 

• Learn more about coronavirus and food access. 

Requests for home-delivered meals more than tripled in the same time period, says Matthew Kreuter, a professor of public health at Washington University in St. Louis who tracks calls to 2-1-1 help lines across the US.

Kreuter and colleagues follow day-to-day requests for hundreds of needs, as captured by 2-1-1 help lines across the country. They compared the number of requests received by 2-1-1s in 21 states and cities from March 12-18 this year to the same seven days in 2019.

“In all 21 locations, requests for food pantries were much higher in the last week, often 2-4 times higher than the same week last year,” Kreuter says. “Requests for home-delivered meals were higher in all but one location.”

“The size and suddenness of these increases is striking,” Kreuter says. “People need help feeding their families, and local agencies need help keeping pace with the higher demand.”

Kreuter’s team has established a web page, FOCUS-19, to report new findings daily. Upcoming analyses will examine requests for assistance with housing, utility bills, household goods, income, employment, transportation, health care, and other social needs; mapping where the increases in local needs are greatest; and reporting calls specific to COVID-19.

Read the full article about increase in food pantry requests across the U.S. by Neil Schoenherr at Futurity.