Hunger has long been a problem in America. Before the pandemic even hit, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)estimated that 35.2 million people lived in food-insecure households nationwide. That’s a staggering number, and one that only got worse in 2020 when Covid-19 devastated the world. According toFeeding America, that number is projected to jump all the way to 42 million —representing one in eight Americans — in 2021.
And perhaps no organization is better equipped to address this crisis and end hunger than Feeding America, which coordinates a massive nationwide network of food banks and food pantries. In order to help fuel their inspiring work and tireless commitment, Nunbelievable is proud to support the work of Feeding America — the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States — as an impact partner. For every cookie we sell we make a donation to our impact partners across the country.
Feeding America was founded in 1979 (as Second Harvest; after a few other transformations the organization was re-christened with its current name in 2008). Their goal is daunting but simple: To help solve hunger across the country. Today Feeding America’s nationwide network includes 200 food banks and 60,000 meal programs, food pantries, and other agencies that distribute nutritious food and provide relief in every community and every Congressional district in the United States.
“We consider hunger to be a silent pandemic that affects millions of people living in the United States,” says Dan Nisbet, Feeding America’s vice president of development. “This is not a new issue for our civilization. Unfortunately it does seem to lie beneath the surface in many ways. People who face hunger often feel ashamed, they don't feel comfortable declaring their need for food. There is a stigma associated with that, and for declaring a need for public benefits.”
The coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated the situation, with millions of people losing their jobs and struggling to put food on the table. For many it was the first time they ever had to rely on hunger-relief organizations and local food banks. “Over the past year folks have had to make choices about what to spend their money on,” Nisbet says. “Rent, utility bills, prescriptions, child care, transportation to and from work often — sadly — supersede the flexibility to purchase food.”
Though supply chains were severely disrupted, Feeding America quickly stepped up, creating new food assistance and distribution models to meet the need. “From March to December 2020 the Feeding America network distributed about 6.1 billion meals,” Nisbet says. “That's more than five billion pounds of healthy food.” Even as the world slowly defeats the virus, the hunger plight remains and Feeding America is working to make sure we are prepared for future crises. “Food insecurity can be exacerbated by external forces, and we feel very strongly that this is something that we have to pay attention to when we see how much suffering can occur so quickly as the result of an unexpected health situation,” he says. “It’s even more important to undergird the financial and food security of our neighbors.”
Nisbet knows what he’s talking about, having worked in the nonprofit world for more than 20 years. In a previous job working for a consulting firm, he was instrumental in fundraising efforts for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Lions Club International. Feeding America was another client, and in 2012 Nisbet jumped at the opportunity to join the organization’s staff. “I had been fascinated by the Feeding America networks and the basic needs that they fulfill in such a sophisticated and data-driven way,” he says. “We have so much care and concern that we have for the people that we serve, always putting the client at the center of our work, and recognizing that the best way to solve an issue of this size is to have as many organizations working on it as possible.”
Dan Nisbet Vice President of Development at Feeding America
Nisbet and the fundraising team continue to explore new ways to maximize donations, which are essential to driving Feeding America’s work. “We are so grateful for the support that we have received,” he says of the increased donations during the coronavirus pandemic. “That support is what helped us throughout this, helped out food banks innovate and we cannot say thank you enough to donors of all types who have come to us to help their neighbors.” And the nonprofit organizationpromises that 98 percent of all donations go toward programs serving people in need.
If you want to learn more about Feeding America’s mission follow their work onInstagram,Twitter andFacebook. You can also visit their website,feedingamerica.org, for suggestions on how to volunteer, helpraise awareness andmake a donation. And remember that your purchases of Nunbelievable cookies are a delicious way to make a difference. (Buy themhere.) Says Nisbet: “Get involved, take action, raise your voice, volunteer, make a gift and make sure you eat a cookie!”