In the last 5 weeks or so, 26.5 million people filed unemployment claims. While the federal government will not have the April unemployment figures until May 8th or so, many economists are predicting an unemployment rate of 23% or more. To put that in perspective, the highest rate of unemployment during the Great Depression was 24.9% in 1933. The unemployment rate is proving to be collateral damage as catastrophic as the Covid-19 pandemic, which the CDC reports has infected at least over 1 million people in the US and killed over 57,000 as of April 27. In a nutshell, we are now facing two competing catastrophes, and the only way either ends is through the development of “herd immunity’. In other words, 60-70% of us will have to catch the virus before the virus runs out of a continuous stream of victims. As some states try to open their economies, the rest of the nation is nervously watching. As is true with almost all aspects of this virus and the damage it causes, there is so much we do not know and cannot accurately anticipate. How many business owners will decide it is worth the risk to begin serving customers again? How many consumers will decide it is worth the risk to go out to eat or get their hair cut? What will the covid-19 case count look like 3 or 4 weeks from now in those states? And most importantly, what is the current rate of infection for our entire population? Are we close to herd immunity yet? Unfortunately, most of the answers we seek will only become available to us over time, and meanwhile, 23% of us are unemployed with no income and soaring food and housing insecurity. The pictures below of incredibly long lines at Food Banks are more valuable than any words I could use to describe the severity of the problem.
Feeding America is our country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. With more than 40 years’ experience, Feeding America has created a network of over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries throughout the United States. Because of the pandemic caused unemployment, Feeding America estimates that an additional 17 million people will need their services in addition to all those they already serve. Feeding America also thinks it will need an additional 1.4 billion in resources over the next 6 months to provide enough food for everyone facing hunger. The situation has become even more dire as food donations to Feeding America network are in decline due to supply chain challenges and decreased food donations from manufacturers and grocery retailers. The volunteer work force upon which Feeding America depends has decreased by as much as 60% as people stay at home to shelter in place. According to Heather Schlesinger of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, “We are distributing an additional 250,000 pounds of food per week to support five local urban and suburban school districts that are closed. We have stopped using volunteers inside our building – we typically use close to 600 per week. We have spent more than $500,000 in the last seven days on food purchasing vs. a typical week of less than $50,000.”
Many of us want to know what we can to help. According to the Wall Street Journal and Feeding America, too, the best way to help food banks at this time is to donate money they can use to buy food to distribute. To help address this crisis, Norm’s Farms has donated money directly to Food Banks in Durham, North Carolina and in Springfield, Missouri. Bart Brown, the CEO of Ozark Food Harvest said “We’re so grateful for how the community is stepping up to help neighbors in need during this unpredictable time. More people than ever are seeking food assistance, and we’re meeting the increased demand by purchasing more food for our Mobile Food Pantry distributions and hunger-relief partners. Every dollar donated to our COVID-19 Hope Fund helps provide $10 worth of groceries to people who need help right now.”
We’ve also set up a way for you to make a donation of 1.00, 5.00 or 10.00 dollars to Feeding America whenever you place an order on our website. To donate select the amount you want to give when you choose the product(s) you wish to order from us. Just look for the small box that says “Support Feeding America in this time of critical need. Add a donation to your order” located on each product page. Thanks so much for pitching in during our national crisis! When we all pitch in, we shall overcome!