How to Help Americans Facing Food Insecurity During the Coronavirus Pandemic


In partnership with Feeding America, Cosmopolitan and Hearst Magazines are committed to putting an end to hunger. To help food banks feed families in need, please donate at FeedingAmerica.org.


According to a study by the United Nations World Food Programme—the world’s largest humanitarian organization—an additional 130 million people globally “could be pushed to starvation by the end of 2020” because of coronavirus. And according to Feeding America, 14 percent of women living alone in America face food insecurity. “Food is a basic human right. We must do all we can to help the most vulnerable,” says Sandra Lee, who recently joined the WFP USA Board of Directors. Now more than ever, food banks and nonprofit organizations need your help to serve communities across the nation. Here’s how you can contribute—even if you’re stuck inside.

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Order Takeout

Were you just about to cook pasta again? If you have the means, please spare yourself and order takeout instead. With more than 25 percent of unemployed Americans coming from the food and service industry, it’s important to continue supporting your favorite haunts and staff if it’s in your budget. Plus, sponsors of the #StayInTakeOut social media initiative donate to Frontline Foods, which supports restaurants that deliver food to frontline workers. Pro tip: Call your fave restaurant directly instead of ordering through an app. That way, they’ll net all the profits.

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Play a Game

World Food Program USA supports the mission of the United Nations WFP, which provides food assistance to nearly 100 million vulnerable and food-insecure people globally. World Food Program USA and its board members, like Lee, advocate with public officials and policy makers for global hunger relief programs. Even if you don’t have extra cash on hand to donate to this program, you can still help by taking a quiz. Seriously: For each correct answer, sponsors donate the cash equivalent of 10 grains of rice to the WFP to help fight hunger. From this game alone, $1.39 million has been donated for global relief.

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Request Meals for Your Community

If you know a group that could benefit from prepared meals, organizations like NYC-based Rethink Food, which works with closed restaurants and staff who likely would’ve been out of work otherwise, allow individuals to reach out and request help for groups in need.

Volunteer

Contact your local food pantry to find out how you can help them sort, pack, and distribute meals. If you have a bike, car, or any reliable means of transportation, consider becoming a food courier for your community. Just be sure to follow health and safety recommendations to make sure you’re doing more good than harm when bringing groceries to those who need help. For those who can’t get out to volunteer, you can still give your time. Check out how you can do so remotely with Hunger Free America.

Contact Your Reps

There are various government-assistance programs that work to get food and supplies to Americans. As officials continue to make decisions that impact the entire nation, make sure to contact your local officials to demand they dedicate resources and relief programs to the organizations and communities that need it most.

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Donate Literal Dollars

Sometimes donating money and supplies is the easiest and quickest way to help, so if that sounds doable to you and your bank account, consider gifting any amount of cash to one of these organizations and initiatives, some of which are accepting hygiene products and protective wear like masks and gloves in addition to food and monetary donations.

    As America’s largest hunger-relief organization with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and programs, Feeding America has provided critical assistance to many Americans throughout this crisis. Although Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund has received several large donations from celebrities and public figures, the need for more funds and resources is vital to help the women and women of color who are most adversely affected by unemployment rates and hunger.

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    • The Betancourt-Macias Family Scholarship Foundation

      This scholarship fund, which was originally set up to help undocumented people get an education, has shifted its focus. Consider donating to and fundraising for The Betancourt-Macias Family Scholarship Foundation, which helps undocumented individuals who are unable to file for unemployment benefits and use federal resources that could provide them relief during these times.

        America’s Food Fund was launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple, and the Ford Foundation, and a donation to their GoFundMe assists organizations like No Kid Hungry, Urban School Food Alliance, and Save the Children.

          This Texas-based nonprofit is experiencing dwindling monetary and food donations as well as fewer and fewer volunteers as the pandemic continues and demand increases. A $1 donation to Minnie’s Food Pantry makes three meals, and you don’t even have to open a browser to contribute—just text MINNIES to 41444.

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            Baby2Baby accepts donations of products that are essential for young kids, like bottles, baby formula, and baby food. For those who want to help monetarily to ensure children’s needs are met with dignity, you can donate to the organization or purchase formula for families that are in a bind.

            • Running Strong for American Indian Youth

              Founded with the mission to ensure self-esteem and self-efficiency, Running Strong for American Indian Youth is working with its 16 partners to help Native American families get clean water, food, hygiene kits, and shelter, always but especially during coronavirus.

                Operating in 200 cities, World Central Kitchen distributes chef-made individual nutritious meals to children and families. For frontline health care workers and seniors who cannot go outside, delivery options are available.

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                  Donations to Meals on Wheels go a long way. Not only do they help replenish food supplies, but donations also make it possible to hire more employees and provide more transportation services to ensure that this vulnerable community continues to be served. Plus, Meals on Wheels is using these donations to “enable tech-based efforts” and check in on isolated individuals while keeping them up to date on science-based information surrounding coronavirus.

                    • The Garces Foundation Food Pantry

                      Chef Jose Garces’ The Garces Foundation Food Pantry program provides families with a code and location of where they can pick up a box of nutritious food for free. The program kicked off with a generous donation from the Patricia Kind Foundation and will continue serving the Philadelphia community as long as donations are coming in.


                            If you or someone you know needs assistance, the Food Pantries and Find Your Local Food Bank websites have a directory of food banks, soup kitchens, and nonprofit organizations that can help. You can also call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 866-348-6479 to be connected with emergency services.

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