Hunger impacts people in every corner of the country, including nearly 20 percent of our neighbors in the River Valley. Given the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, that number may increase to 22 ½ percent this year. And with 1 in 4 children in our state experiencing food insecurity, it is important to continue growing efforts to connect families in the River Valley with healthy food.
That’s why the River Valley Regional Food Bank joins Feeding America® food banks nationwide this September to take part in Hunger Action Month, and inspire people to take action and bring attention to the reality of food insecurity in America. This year’s campaign comes at a critical time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt millions of people living paycheck to paycheck. And due to staggering unemployment rates, Feeding America estimates an additional 17 million people could be food insecure in 2020 as a result of this crisis, bringing the total up to 54 million people.
“Whether they’ve lost work from the pandemic, or are under-employed, or are seniors, or they live on a fixed income, so many people need food assistance at this time,” Food Bank Director Tracy Engel said. “We work every day to ensure we can provide nutritious food to our 163 pantry agency partners in the eight-county service area in the River Valley, so that they are able to fulfill their missions of helping those in need.”
In an effort to promote hunger awareness throughout the month of September, the River Valley Regional Food Bank has partnered with local businesses, restaurants and government entities to help raise funds and collect in-need pantry items to help stock our shelves.
The food bank also has a number of viral social media campaigns planned, as a way to promote the issues of food disparity in our area. “We need your help now more than ever,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “Hunger in this country existed long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has thrust more and more of our neighbors into food insecurity, and food banks are responding to a sustained, increased demand. With support of the community, together we can end hunger one helping at a time.”
September marks the 13th year the Feeding America network has organized this annual call to action. To learn more about the River Valley Regional Food bank and other ways you can get involved for Hunger Action Month in the River Valley, please visit rvrfoodbank.org/hungeraction-month/ or HungerActionMonth.org. You can also join the conversation by posting photos or stories to social media with #HungerActionMonth, and tag @rivervalleyregionalfoodbank on Instagram, @RVRFoodBank on Facebook and @river_food on Twitter, as well as @FeedingAmerica.