It’s been a year now since the pandemic first struck — an astonishing, painful year.
Almost overnight in March 2020, reality for so many in America changed. All the hopes, expectations and plans that the new decade had brought were replaced with fear and uncertainty.
Darcey, a mother in small-town in New York, lost her job as a diner waitress and was unable to put food on the table for the first time in her life.
“I was not thinking that it would impact me the way it did,” she shared. “I completely panicked. I had never gotten help. I felt like I’d lost so much control over myself, my bills, my daughter.”
Across the nation, millions of kids were at risk of hunger for the first time ever, and others had to struggle even more to receive food that was already hard to get.
Your Support in a Trying Time
In face of the crisis, thousands of people like you stepped up to support families like Darcey’s. Since the beginning of the pandemic, your generosity has fueled grants like this one, totaling $66 million to 1,800 schools, local nonprofits and food banks across all 50 states, DC, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Two thirds of these grants have gone to organizations supporting communities of color, and about one third to rural communities, two groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Your donations also supported our efforts working with all levels of government to help feed kids. We helped create and expand the Pandemic-EBT program, providing funds to families to replace missed school meals during school closures, and we successfully advocated for the expansion of SNAP benefits by $25 a month.
We also helped leaders secure critical USDA waivers that helped feed kids in isolated communities and reach kids normally not covered by these programs, such as non-school-age children.
These changes helped schools across the country set up grab-n-go meals sites, just like in California’s Oakland Unified School District. John Sasaki, their communications director, shared, “If our kids didn’t have this resource, we don’t know where they’d be eating, especially in a time like this.”
In addition, you also fueled our new free meals finder map, a resource to connect families to the meals they need, as well as numerous resources and webinars for school nutrition professionals and local nonprofits, sharing insights and innovations around feeding kids during the pandemic.
Kids Still Need You
Even if the end of the pandemic is in sight, its impact will be felt for years to come if we don’t act now. Today 1 in 4 kids may be living with hunger because of the pandemic. These children, like Darcey’s in New York, need your help.
“The worst thing in the world is to have to worry about how you’re going to feed your family,” she said. “To take that weight off is huge, so thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
In the year ahead, we’ll continue supporting community heroes and the families they serve, advocating for policies and doing more to ensure no kid in America experiences hunger – and continue to thank you for being there with us.