Millions (yes, millions) of people across the globe face food insecurity. “Food insecurity”, which means not knowing where or when your next meal will come from, is not a new issue. The latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published in July 2020 by The World Health Organization, UN World Food Programme and others, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years.
What has changed: an already dire situation has become much worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March through June of this year, 4 in 10 people visiting food banks were there for the first time. Experts estimate that 130 million more people will be pushed into chronic hunger by the end of 2020.
With drastically higher food assistance needs resulting from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a new wave of infections spreading, food banks across the world desperately need resources. Not only do they need more food to sustain the programs they run, but food banks are also largely volunteer-run. In 2015, across the Feeding America network of over 63,000 agencies, 66% of pantry and 41% of kitchen programs relied entirely on volunteers. With fewer people feeling safe outside their homes and in-person corporate volunteering on hold, volunteers are in short supply.
NortonLifeLock is partnering with five food program partners to help feed our neighbors. We’ve donated $170,000 to help provide 407,800 meals to people in need in our communities this holiday season.
Fighting to end hunger. Of the money we’ve donated, $50,000 was sent to the United Food Bank in Mesa, Arizona, which distributes 75,000 meals daily and has helped feed over 470,000 hungry children in the state. The United Food Bank collaborates with more than 200 partner agencies and reaches out to some of the most remote areas in the state, helping families who have few good options and live some forty miles from the next town. Food distribution this year is expected to reach nearly 29 million pounds, up from 24 million last year.
Making sure every family has what they need. In Dublin, Ireland we’ve donated $25,000 to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP), an organization that provides direct assistance to those in need, cares for those experiencing homelessness, provides social housing, and promotes self-sufficiency with a non-judgmental spirit. Many families are facing impossible choices this holiday season: choosing between a warm house or dinner, a holiday gift or paying an overdue bill. With 112,000 requests for help already received, SVP needs donations now more than ever.
Healthy and nourished children. In India, we’ve donated $45,000 to Save the Children’s (STC) efforts to fight malnutrition. STC estimates that 35% of children in India suffer from stunting due to malnutrition. The organization provides robust health and nutrition benefits to children from the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities and in the last year the has helped nourish 85,000 children in need.
The nutrition needed to thrive. Another $25,000 was sent to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley in California, an organization committed to building a hunger-free community. The organization distributes nutritious food to nearly every neighborhood in Silicon Valley, collaborating with organizations and people who share its belief that hunger is unacceptable. Through drive-thru and walk-up sites across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and an expansive partner network, Second Harvest now provides food to an average of 500,000 kids, families, and seniors every month, double the number of neighbors served before the COVID crisis.
Fighting hunger. Giving hope. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in California is on our list as well, with $25,000 going towards their work distributing roughly 4 million pounds of food every week. Since they opened their doors in 1973, the LA Regional Food Bank has served more than 1 billion meals to their community. And in Los Angeles County, 1 in 4 children might not know where their next meal is coming from.
We know that money isn’t the only way we can help. That’s why we’ve also launched an At-Home Food Drive for team members across the globe to further our impact and better respond to the significant increase in need.
Employees are collecting non-perishable food at home and will drop it off to their local food banks. Between the food our employees collect and the money we’re donating, it is our hope that we can help combat the food insecurity that has ravaged our communities and sustain these incredible organizations.
If you’re able and inspired to help:
- In the United States, you can head to https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank and simply type in your zip code.
- If you’re located anywhere else in the world, start by typing “food bank” and your location into your internet browser.
These are trying times, but often just $1 can provide between 4 and 10 meals, and these incredibly important organizations will use any assistance they can get to end hunger.
 United We Serve. "Feeding America's Hungry: The Facts." Accessed March 3, 2015
We encourage you to share your thoughts on your favorite social platform.