How You Can Find Food Assistance During the Coronavirus
Millions of people are feeling the devastating effects of the pandemic right now, and among all of the issues caused or worsened by this crisis, food insecurity has emerged as one of the most pressing. As a result of record-high unemployment, the closure of small businesses, and lockdown rules, many people are finding it hard to afford basics like food. If you’re like one of the many people who are struggling to find food assistance during the coronavirus, there is help out there for you. Here we’ve highlighted key resources and must-know information about how you and your family can receive the help that is needed today.
Why has food insecurity become such a big issue?
First, the problem of food insecurity is something that predates coronavirus, but the crisis has made this issue exponentially worse. According to the University of Toronto research, one in eight households in Canada is food insecure. In the wake of the crisis and the economic impact, the picture of food insecurity becomes even more dire. With Canada’s unemployment hitting 16% and businesses shut down, the most vulnerable in our communities are now facing hunger as a daily reality.
One study found that the pandemic has left many children in America hungry, and one in five households are experiencing some level of food insecurity. Respondents to this study indicated the food they bought did not last as long as they thought and they did not have the money to purchase more; and/or children in the household were not getting enough food because they could not afford to buy more.
The problem is also worsened when you consider the current state of food banks, which typically can be counted on by struggling families for food donations. Across the country, local food banks have seen their supplies run low and demand is only increasing as the economy worsens, according to Reuters. All of this has created a perfect storm for families and individuals needing food assistance during the coronavirus crisis.
Where to get free food during the coronavirus
If you’re like one of the millions of families that doesn’t have an income right now and you can’t afford food during the coronavirus, there are ways to find free or low-cost food options. Local nonprofit organizations, government assistance programs, and even fundraising are good places to start if you need help getting food during COVID-19.
Find organizations that provide free meals or food
A great place to get started is by becoming familiar with local food pantries and other organizations that are providing meals or food items. Sometimes finding where to get free food or meals during the coronavirus comes down to doing a quick Google search, but you can also check sites for national organizations that are dedicated to providing food to those in need. Here are just a few you can reference:
- Food Banks Canada food bank directory is a great place to start your search. By typing in your zip code or using their interactive map, you can locate a food bank near you
Once you find the nearest food bank or pantry, contact them and see if they have a waiting list, upcoming events, or if they have sufficient supplies. In some areas, food banks are experiencing long lines, or they are running low on food to give out.
How to get free food during the coronavirus through your community
Whether it’s getting food or direct financial help during the coronavirus pandemic, your community can play an important role in providing support. There are a few easy ways you can leverage your community, while also keeping yourself and others safe.
Facebook and apps like Nextdoor can help you reach out to neighbours, family, and friends. By searching for groups in your local community, you can post requests for help, including requests for information about where to get free food or meals during the coronavirus. Nextdoor has even created a guide about how to use the app to support your neighborhood during the crisis.
Create an online fundraiser
Using crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, you can start a fundraiser to get relief and pay for food expenses. There are already countless examples of COVID-19 relief fundraisers across GoFundMe and many are to support families just like yours. Getting started only takes a few minutes and you can start sharing with your family and friends immediately to get support.
How you can help hungry families during the coronavirus
For those who are in a position to help hungry families during the coronavirus crisis, there are plenty of ways to support our vulnerable families.
Donate to food banks
Find out what food banks need by reaching out to them directly, before you purchase items or drive out to make donations. What food banks need may vary based on your location, but if contacting them is not possible you can also find online resources to get an idea of what to donate and what foods to avoid.
Donate to fundraisers for families in need
With millions of low-income families in need of coronavirus relief, there’s no shortage of fundraisers that you can donate to. By making a donation to families and individuals affected by the coronavirus, you’re ensuring they get the money directly and are able to use it almost immediately.
There are also large-scale fundraising efforts such as ID Foods Corporation that are collecting monetary contributions.
Start a fundraiser for a family or individual in need
If you have time to help, consider starting a fundraiser for an individual or family struggling with food insecurity during COVID-19. You can also support loved ones during the coronavirus by fundraising for them. With so many people out of work, you’re likely to know someone who is in need right now.
Get support with food insecurity today
Whether you need food assistance during the coronavirus crisis or you’re in a position to help, fundraising is one of the easiest ways to find relief. Starting a fundraiser is easy, and you can receive funds quickly. With free fundraising on GoFundMe, you can sign up and start raising money for yourself or someone you care about today.