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  • Paco Velez, Feeding South Florida director, checks the products at his warehouse in Pembroke Park, Florida, USA. July 20, 2020.

    Paco Velez, Feeding South Florida director, checks the products at his warehouse in Pembroke Park, Florida, USA. July 20, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Cristobal Hererra-Ulashkevich

Published 25 November 2020
Opinion

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that food insecurity in the country doubled in the pandemic's first months. 

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced Wednesday that nearly 26 million adults lack sufficient resources to feed themselves, an all-time high since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

The figure translates into one in six people, including one in four children, experiencing food insecurity this year, a devastating number compared to models from before the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to Census Bureau official Joel Berg, this is the worst hunger crisis in modern American times: "Unless the federal government does something big and fast, we will see hunger conditions like this country has not seen since the Great Depression."

The organization projected the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity led to an annual unemployment rate of 10.5 percent and a poverty rate of 14.4 percent. Researchers at Northwestern University estimate that food insecurity in the US doubled in the first few months of the pandemic alone.

Also, in particular, children were reported to have lost access to free or reduced-price meals, and most schools are closed for in-person learning for most of the year.

Federal assistance and employment benefits increased somewhat, which eased the to an extent, as did the initial reopening of businesses. However, most of the government's aid was spent, and up to 12 million more workers will lose their jobs.

The research also highlighted that African Americans are some of the most affected by the pandemic's impact on food insecurity. The Census Bureau reported that about 22 percent of Black households said they went hungry during the last week.

 
"Thanksgiving eve and the food banks can't cope. In several states thousands of people stand in long lines; they are looking for donations of food for their families, millions of Americans are unemployed."
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