The past year has demonstrated how important food assistance is during a time of crisis. It has also tested the strength and resilience of our local food assistance network.
One of the economic impacts of COVID-19 has been a significant increase in food insecurity in Lane County. Simply put, more people than ever are having trouble paying for all their living expenses and feeding their families, too.
At FOOD for Lane County, COVID-19’s first impact was on our food supply. We had to temporarily suspend food donations from local grocery stores last spring. By summer, we and the stores had figured out a safe way to resume picking up their food donations. However, they had fewer usable food items to donate because of the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, and our grocery store collections last year were only 60% of pre-pandemic levels.
Local food drives, where community members donate cans and boxes of food, were down even more last year at less than 25% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Organizations and groups are once again starting to conduct COVID-19-safe food drives, but we don’t yet have the large community events that generate a lot of these donations.
Register-Guard Guest View, by Tom Mulhern (FFLC Executive Director)