One Year of COVID & Several Lockdowns Later…
....28.8 million people have been infected and over 500,000 have died in the U.S. due to COVID-19. On top of that, nearly 17 million more people are now going hungry.
Coronavirus first surfaced in December 2019 but has since spread to nearly every country in the world derailing many people’s lives and stunting the global economy. It was just a month later when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health emergency on Jan. 30, 2020.
There is no official start of when COVID-19 spread into the U.S. because it was likely here before it was documented. However, the unofficial start of the pandemic in America is generally marked on March 11 when the NBA season unexpectedly shutting down, March Madness was canceled, and the news broke about Tom Hanks getting COVID. A few days later on March 19, California issued the first shelter in place orders which sent offices around the country closing.
COVID-19 changed everyone’s lives quickly as it spread throughout the world. The U.S. did not have a plan or team in place to create a strategy to combat the virus so Americans were hit especially hard by the pandemic.
How COVID Affected The Hunger Crisis
During the first three months of the pandemic, over 6 million Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps. The need for food assistance grew three times as quickly compared to the previous months.
The lack of food security comes from the financial instability that has impacted several Americans due to the loss of work, income, the irregular arrival of stimulus checks, and unemployment benefits. Since Summer 2020, nearly 8 million Americans have fallen below the poverty line.
Before the pandemic, 37 million people faced food insecurity and after the start of the pandemic now 54 million people are going hungry a nearly 50% increase.
Move For Hunger's Response
Seeing the dramatic rise in food insecurity, the Move For Hunger team and our partners sprung into action and delivered more food than they ever had before. From March 2020 until now, Move For Hunger delivered 5.3 million lbs of food, which supplied 4.4 million meals to those in need. This was a 40% increase compared to 2019.
Additionally, with the help of many movers, Move For Hunger made 1,704 individual deliveries to food banks in 2020 and supplied 294 individual food banks with donations. None of this work would have been possible without the 608 movers and apartment communities that collected food last year.
“And while 2020 felt like an eternity, it’s now over,” Founder and Executive Director of Move For Hunger Adam Lowy said. “Now we can reflect and recognize the many bright spots that shined through the darkness. Despite its challenges, Move For Hunger had its most impactful year to date. We delivered more than 5 million pounds of food to food banks across the US & Canada in a single year – which is 25% of the overall total we’ve delivered over the past 11 years combined.”
Move For Hunger adapted to the pandemic by hosting socially distant food drives, virtual events, and added freight and logistics companies to their network of movers.
In 2020, Move For Hunger started doing Front Porch Food Drive’s, which are the perfect way to feed your community, while safely social distancing. This contactless food drive opportunity allows small groups to get together and distribute paper collection bags in their local neighborhoods. The volunteers then return to those houses a few days later to collect food left by the homeowners on their front porch.
In the past 12 months, there were 43 Front Porch Food Drives that collected over 90,000 lbs. of food. The largest of which came from Dermer’s Dreams, a community food drive in New Jersey which collected almost 60,000 lbs of food!
While most of the Move For Hunger in-person events were canceled due to the pandemic but many individuals continued to “move” for hunger. William Vogt of Weichert Workforce Mobility had been training for the New Jersey Marathon to compete and raise money for Team Move For Hunger. When the race was canceled due to the pandemic, he decided to run the 26.2-mile distance throughout his neighborhood in New Jersey to honor his commitment and virtually completed the event. William raised $7,805, providing 18,000 meals through his tremendous effort.
Move For Hunger tried some new avenues for fundraising one of them being charity streaming. This virtual opportunity allowed Move For Hunger to add fundraisers to many of their food drives, which provided even more meals to those in need.
Love + Relo a podcast hosted by Vice President of Business Development of University Moving & Storage, Ben Cross supported Move For Hunger by devoting time every Friday during Hunger Action Month to focus on talking about hunger in America. Cross also used his connections to get Kroger involved. The grocery chain matched up to $10,000. The entire month Love + Relo fundraised $30,000 which funded programs to provide over 70,000 meals!
One of Move For Hunger’s most successful charity streams was the Gluper Bowl! This was a holiday event hosted by Glu Mobile Inc. hosted where they have a virtual Rocket League tournament that raised $2,025, providing 4,863 meals to those going hungry in America.
“Move For Hunger accomplished all of this with the most amazing team I could ever ask for along with our incredible board, action committees, partners, interns, and volunteers who literally make it happen each and every day,” Lowy said. “The logistics of getting food to where it is most needed isn’t easy, and I am beyond grateful to those who are working together with us to ensure that millions of people won’t go to bed hungry.”
Want to aid in our COVID-19 relief efforts?
The fight against COVID-19 and hunger is far from over, but Move For Hunger’s team and partners will continue to do their part to lessen the effects of food insecurity in America. Anyone can get involved in our mission by donating or hosting their own fundraiser or food drive!