Giving Compass' Take:

• Jessi Misslin explains how COVID-19 has increased the number of people in need of support from food banks while creating additional risk and need for precautions. 

• What role can you play in helping feed banks serve communities? What support are food banks in your community in need of? 

• Learn how Native Americans are addressing food insecurity during COVID-19.

Right now, food banks are responding to:

Increased need. Nearly 1 in 8 people face food insecurity in California on a daily basis. And with children out of school, vulnerable seniors at even greater risk, and a majority of the statewide population sheltering in place, demand at food banks has spiked statewide and is up 40%, on average, nationally.

Increased risk. With the risk of COVID-19 transmission ever-present, food banks must take extra precautions and adopt new and more onerous protocols to protect their staff and volunteers, the clients they serve, and their suppliers and partners. At the same time, the essential services they provide are hampered due to disruptions in the supply chain and reduced food donations. According to Katie Fitzgerald, chief operating office at Feeding America, food donations from manufacturers, supermarkets, and other retailers are down by half.

Increased urgency. This is all occurring against a backdrop of increasing urgency and uncertainty. As unemployment skyrockets, the risk of economic and food insecurity grows daily.

In the Bay Area, local food banks are bravely adapting to these impacts, while statewide the California Association of Food Banks (a 41-food bank network) is sending out extra food to create an emergency inventory and advocating with government officials to reduce administrative burdens while increasing access to food resources.

Read the full article about food banks during COVID-19 by Jessi Misslin at Pacific Foundation Services.