When talking about those without food, many are quick to think that it happens in states or even countries away from them. However, the reality is unfortunately much grimmer. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture reports that over 1 in 10 households in New York experienced food insecurity this year. As the numbers show, food security knows no boundaries.
Since the advent of COVID, food insecurity has increased from 13.7 million to 13.9 million this year. This phenomenon can be explained by two things. First of all, unemployment soared from about three percent to about fifteen percent since the start of COVID. Second, the cancellation of school deprived families whose children received free lunches for their meals. In fact, research by Northwestern found that food insecurity in households with children tripled. These facts come to show that COVID not only endangers the lives of those who contract it, but also those who don’t.
At the start of quarantine, all races were impacted by the shutting down of many businesses. Although illness doesn’t discriminate, Black, Asian, and Hispanic peoples face unemployment on a much larger scale than their white counterparts. According to the Congressional research service, the percentage of unemployed Black people is about 1.5 times larger than that of Whites. Moreover, as the unemployment rate of white people is decreasing, that of their POC counterparts are still lagging. Using logic, as the unemployment rate for POC remains high, so will food insecurity for POC. As shown, food insecurity is not only a class problem but a racial one as well.
As the holidays approach, local organizations and food banks are scrambling to collect supplies and pack meals for the families in New York State and Long Island who need them. The reality is that all of the previously mentioned occurrences are happening around tons of families who have no clue it’s happening. While millions of families look forward to sharing a meal, millions of other families aren’t sure if they will even have a meal to share. For those who are interested in helping these families, do some research and look for local food banks and try to make a donation, or even start a drive. Although Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it is never too late to help.
Hunger in NYS. Hunger Solutions New York
Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Brief. Congress Research Service
Food Insecurity In The U.S. By The Numbers. NPR