This year has been extremely hard on some families and individuals. From losing jobs, to trying to figure out where their next meal will come from, it is been a trying time for many. Since Covid-19 hit our area, the High Plains Food Bank has distributed 1.1 million pounds of food across the Texas panhandle. In just June alone, the HPFB served over 11,000 households, for the largest one-month total in the food bank’s history.

“We’ve seen the need increase across every county in our service area,” said Zack Wilson, executive director for High Plains Food Bank. “Thanks to donors, grants and other sources, we were able to send out the equivalent of about 27 ½ truckloads of food last month in immediate response. But, we know we have a long road ahead of us.”

With data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Census Bureau, Feeding America has released an interactive map to predict changes to food insecurity rates for the overall population and children in response to projected changes to poverty and unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. That analysis shows that progress made to food insecurity in the U.S. this past decade will likely be wiped out and food insecurity rates will climb higher than the peak of the Great Recession, potentially going from more than 37 million people facing hunger in 2018 up to more than 54 million in 2020.

“Locally, we estimate that an additional 26,440 people could become food insecure in the wake of the pandemic,” Wilson said. “That’s 1 in 5 neighbors, including 1 in 3 kids struggling to have enough to eat.”

 

The data also said that overall food insecurity could reach 20.3% across the Texas Panhandle, or 1 in 5 individuals. Local childhood food insecurity could reach 30.3%, or 1 in 3 children. 23 counties in the HPFB service area are projected to have 17% or higher rates of food insecurity. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), the study finds that, on average, food-secure individuals report spending $3.09 per person, per meal as of 2018. In the Texas Panhandle the average cost per meal is $2.98

“In order to continue alleviating hunger for the growing numbers of individuals and families thrust into food insecurity from COVID-19, we’re going to need ongoing support for the long-term recovery,” Wilson said. “With every $1 that comes in, we can provide 5 meals to neighbors in need.”

What does all of this mean? It means that the HPFB needs our help and donations more than ever. If you can give, even a couple dollars, you can make a one-time or recurring donation, at www.hpfb.org/donate.