Food security has long been recognized as an effective, much-needed response to the devastation from natural disasters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, food relief became a central need—and an area that Give2Asia targeted in our response activities. COVID-induced lockdowns made it unsafe and difficult for communities to travel to the grocery store. Even as lockdowns lifted, rising unemployment left many families without the financial means to purchase food. Vulnerable populations—such as day laborers, low-wage workers, persons with disabilities, and the elderly—were among the most acutely affected.

In 2020, Give2Asia’s donors enabled a record number of 70+ grants to local food security-related projects across the Asia-Pacific region. Based on this work, here are three of our learnings:

Learning #1: Organizations not typically involved in food relief can be valuable partners. During a crisis, local nonprofits of all types can be uniquely positioned to provide relief. In response to on-the-ground needs, our grantees leveraged their local resources and acted swiftly and creatively.

Learning #2: Hygiene kits and other essentials can be value-adds to food ration distribution. In the COVID context, health and safety go hand in hand with food security. Many of Give2Asia’s partner organizations use food distribution as an opportunity to include hygiene and sanitation kits, school essentials for children, and educational materials. Though this approach, grantees can advance longer-term goals while meeting an immediate need.

Learning #3: Food security takes many forms, not just ration packages. Ration packages with a few weeks’ worth of family meals are the dominant method of ensuring food security among vulnerable families and individuals. Being embedded in communities, Give2Asia’s in-country partners tailor food procurement to meet local needs and contexts.

Read the full article about food security from Give2Asia.