How to Connect the Community With Food Amid COVID-19

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It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. Our schedules have changed, jobs have shifted, and our health is of the utmost importance. At Plates, we believe that the key to a healthy life is through the food we consume and the communities we live in. COVID-19 has only strengthened that belief, and we need to act accordingly. Together, we can relieve the impact that COVID-19 has had on our neighbors. Here’s how you can help to provide relief to your community during this time of a widespread food crisis. 

The Issue at Hand

We need to understand exactly what the problem is. Food insecurity consists of a combination of factors: It not only means a lack of access, but also a lack of nutritious food that our bodies need to thrive. When someone is food insecure, they’re most likely dealing with both of these issues. It’s important to remember that food insecurity happens everywhere. It’s even more difficult in food deserts—urban areas with a lack of accessible, quality food. Food insecurity can happen as a result of reduced income, shortages, and more. 

Before COVID-19, approximately 1.9 billion people across the world were food insecure in 2017 alone. This includes countries on almost every continent. Now, due to the global pandemic, those numbers have risen. In the United States, the number of people who would be food insecure in 2020 was projected to exceed 50 million. With all of this data, one thing is clear: We need to make a change. To reverse the impacts of food insecurity, think small and start with your local community. 

Make a Difference in Your Community

According to a study conducted in 2014, one in seven Americans relies on food pantries and local programs for food. This means that people in need rely on their communities for aid. That’s why we should all connect with our communities through the powers of giving and nourishing food. Together we can bring an end to this tragedy.

Resources such as FoodPantries.org and Feeding America are great organizations for finding local food banks in the U.S. You can visit these sites to find pantries in your area. They’re always accepting donations, so check to see how you can help. This is also a great way to donate food to your community securely. You will have peace of mind knowing your donation is going straight to the people in need in your area. 

Neighborhood Leadership

Outside of food organizations, you have the power to take the initiative yourself. As a disclaimer, however, we understand that these initiatives can be circumstantial. You especially want to be sure that you abide by all COVID-19 guidelines for your safety and for the safety of others. With that, here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Give away your leftovers. Now is not the time to waste food. If you prepare extra food at home, see if any of your neighbors would like a hot meal. The food is fresh and prepared with real, home-cooked ingredients.  
  2. Create your own neighborhood donation box. Set up a small donation box outside of your home and prompt your neighbors to donate or take anything they need. This is typically best practiced with nonperishable items. 
  3. Start a community garden. There are some parameters to this, but if it’s plausible, look into creating a community garden. Community gardens are a great way to supply home-grown, nutrient-dense produce for all to tend to and eat. They’re also incredible for combatting the problems caused by food deserts in urban areas. 

Whether you choose to donate to your community food banks or take your own initiatives, everything you do makes a difference. Food insecurity is a global problem that has worsened in recent years. Community is more important now than ever as we all need to take care of each other. Connect with your neighbors and look forward to how you can help solve food insecurity in your communities. 

Feature image: Unsplash 

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