Study: 125K more people to struggle with food insecurity by November

The coronavirus financial crisis is causing families to wonder where their next meal is coming from.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As closures and orders meant to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic extended across the country, the economy and employment sector took an unprecedented hit. That ripple effect caused millions to lose their jobs, and the unemployment system wasn’t enough to rescue unemployed workers from falling into the condition of food insecurity.

Food insecurity is defined as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of a lack of money and other resources. It includes not having access to transportation or quality grocery stores.

“When you break it right down, food insecurity is that you don’t know where your next meal will come from,” Feeding Northeast Florida CEO Susan King said.

A recent study by Feeding America examined what the predicted effects of the pandemic would be on families in Northeast Florida. It shows 125,000 more people in the region will fall into the condition of food insecurity by November.

It’s a grim reality that Feeding Northeast Florida is working every day to combat.

Putting it into numbers, prior to the pandemic, Feeding Northeast Florida was processing about 50,000 pounds of food every day. Now the nonprofit food bank is giving out 150,000 pounds of food daily, but even that increase isn’t enough.

“At about 80% of our mobile distributions, we’re not able to service all of the people that are lined up for food. There’s just so much need. It’s hard to anticipate it at a particular site,” King said.

The study identified the northwest quadrant of Jacksonville as being a high-needs area, but it also showed St. Johns County would see the highest increase in people who would become food insecure, at 55%.

“It’s across the board. It can be your neighbor who lost their job four months ago and hasn’t been able to replace that income,” King said.

Despite this, there’s a small but definite bright spot; King said the community has rallied together to try and help as many people as they can.

“The reality of this increased need is we’ve had incredible community support. So much so that we have a really powerful voice that helps us let everyone know what we as a community, what we as a country are facing,” she said.

The study showed the need for food would peak in November, but that there is likely to be an elevated need that lasts through 2021. Feeding Northeast Florida is now asking those who are able, to make a financial donation.

You can do that here.