Food insecurity has long been amassive crisis in the United States. Even before the pandemic began, roughly 37 million Americans were struggling to put food on the table. Now, even as life slowly returns to normal,that number has grown closer to 42 million, according to Feeding America. As the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, they understand the severity and urgency of the situation, and they have worked tirelessly to continue their mission even in the face of Covid-19.
That’s why Nunbelievable is proud to work with Feeding America asone of our impact partners, and why we are continuing to put a spotlight on the incredible work they do. Recently, Nunbelievable co-founder and CMO Kuda Biza chatted with Feeding America senior development manager Hannah Swihart to learn more about the challenges — and how we can all help.
Watch the full conversation here:
“We are the umbrella organization over a network of 200 food banks that are then an umbrella over 60,000 partner agencies,” Swihart said of Feeding America's massive reach. ”So we truly have a footprint all throughout the United States… and our network is serving our neighbors all across the United States in every single county.” (In case you’re wondering, there are more than3,000 counties in this country!)
But with the combination of a greater need for assistance as people lost their jobs and struggled to pay bills, as well as the complications of supplying food while maintaining strict health protocols, the pandemic provided an unprecedented challenge. As we have seen through all of our impact partners, it was common for many Americans to find themselves facing food insecurity for the first time in their lives.
“The people out there, they’re normal people, just like us, and maybe one or two unfortunate circumstances hit them and now they’re food insecure,” Biza noted of the uncertain circumstances many in this country face — whether there’s a global pandemic raging or not.
“We had to really innovate and evolve to meet the need,” Swihart said of the past year, which sawan alarming 55 percent increase in the number of people who were relying on food banks. “It was really impressive and pretty inspiring to see how quickly our food bank
partners and agency partners were able to pivot, the way they normally worked to distribute meals to people in need, as well as also doing at-home deliveries especially for our home-bound seniors.”
The National Guard was called in to help and Feeding America expanded their temporary staff to facilitate low-touch and no-touch distribution centers across the country. Despite the obstacles, they were able to providesix billion meals during the coronavirus crisis.
Though vaccination rates are rising and many of us are slowly returning to our normal routines, the effects of the pandemic are expected to be felt for a long time. “I like to tell people, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Swihart said of the mission to lower food insecurity numbers. “We’re going to need assistance for years to come. We’re going to see increased numbers for so many years to come as people recover, as people get back on their feet.”
In addition to federal funding and corporate partners, Feeding America relies heavily on contributions from the public. If you’d like to help, you can head tofeedingamerica.org to donate. There’s even a section on their website to help youfind the food bank in your community, if you want to donate locally or volunteer your time.
And if you’d like to maximize your donation, you can participate in Feeding America’s 1 Billion Meals Challenge. Through a generous matching plan by Tony Robbins (one of Nunbelievable’searliest backers), every dollar you give can help provide 20 meals (instead of the usual 10) — with a goal of providing a billion meals by 2025. Clickhere for more information.
“Take the inspiration from the work that he’s done to also light your own torch and support whatever mission it is,” Biza said of Robbins, a prominent motivational speaker, businessman, and philanthropist. “Giving in whatever shape or form that really speaks to you is the important thing. For us as a brand, we love to gift the meals through the cookie sales that we make so that when you’re eating your cookie someone else is having a meal.”
Remember,Nunbelievable donates a portion of all our sales to our impact partners across the country, including Feeding America.