How to Help Americans in Need during this Pandemic
As I write this in late January, food insecurity is a major topic of concern for me and my health coaching community. Everyone at Holland Health Coaching is committed to supporting the Feeding America Network. We donate 5% of our proceeds to serve that effort. As closures and social distancing orders fluctuate in each state, everyone’s food life has changed. We’re all challenged with our specific experiences of this global pandemic. I send you and your family my best wishes during this community-wide situation.
Let’s talk about how we can, as people seeking wellness, help those who are uncertain how to feed themselves and their families in this Covid-19 trauma. Because I was trained in teaching programs originated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), my heart and mind worry about those with serious underlying medical conditions. And I also deeply worry about those families who — before the pandemic — were experiencing hunger and uncertainty about their next meal or their children’s nourishment.
Initial response to the spread of this virus included panic buying to stock up on food and other supplies
Everyone witnessed the initial response to the covid-related shut-down of grocery stores, restaurants, and workplaces. People with means purchased quantities of food, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. Those who were already lacking in the means to purchase food and supplies struggled. Many in this situation flocked to food banks and church parking lots where critical donations were offered. Others went hungry. Many Americans still do.
It has been estimated that this year, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, 17 million children — 1 in every 4 kids — may not know where they will get their next meal.
One group that has been impacted by food insecurity during this pandemic are folks in service jobs or workers in the leisure and hospitality industry. Before this virus, those workers faced above-average food insecurity (16-17%). As we near the one-year point in our American experience of coronavirus, these families face dire circumstances.
“Most low-wage jobs cannot be performed at home, so those workers are either experiencing lost wages or continuing to work, presumably risking their own health to the extent their roles require human interaction.” Department of Labor (2020) In these same families, school closures create an additional burden on food insecurity, as their children are not being fed lunch in school cafeterias.
Helping our Neighbors in Need
I am proud to be a weekly volunteer at the Vinelife Church in Boulder County, near my home. This church has offered a weekly food box to families for almost 20 years. During the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve distributed food to more than 1,700 people each week! The need keeps growing in this Denver-adjacent community, much like it does in communities across our country. The food that is packed by volunteers comes primarily from a Feeding America Network food bank in Louisville, Colorado.
Feeding America has 200+ member food banks working in communities across the country. They have adapted their practices to minimize risk to the volunteers and the recipients. This large network serves over 40 million people each year. Many will experience more severe levels of need in the coming months.
Here are three ideas for you and your family
1. Let your family join in efforts in your community. If you’ve never volunteered at a church or food bank and would like to give it a try, here is a resource to help you find opportunities. Find a local food bank here.
2. Find out what your local government is doing to join in on programs from the federal government. Under the leadership of President Biden, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced several efforts on January 22, 2021. There’s a plan to expand nutrition assistance to families across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more.
3. Find a virtual or local opportunity to help families in need. Volunteer Match is an organization that connects qualified volunteers for nonprofits in need. They have thousands of virtual or local ways you can become involved as a volunteer. Do you operate a nonprofit? They can help you to find compassionate helpers, too! Learn more here.
For millions of people in the United States, eating enough nutritious food is far easier said than done. Certain groups living in the United States face additional barriers and risks when it comes to nutrition and health, particularly in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Bridget Balch, AAMC
As a holistic health coach, mom, grandmother, and avid home cook, I’m passionate about helping people feel nourished and loved. I hope you’ll join me in doing what you can to serve those in need of nourishing food. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences in helping your community! Do you and your family struggle with nourishing food, or knowing how to best stay healthy? I invite you to send me a message. I’ll reply with any help I can provide.