NEW YORK CITY – The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented spike in hunger, affecting families in New York and the rest of the United States
The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated this hunger.
The level of food insecurity in U.S. households nearly tripled between 2019 and August this year, according to an analysis of data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
While it is too early to fully assess the impact of coronavirus lockdowns and other containment measures, the United Nations report estimates that at a minimum, 83 million more people – and possibly up to 132 million – could go hungry in 2020.
To spur collective action among its 150 member countries and draw attention to the large number of chronically hungry people, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has established World Food Day . First celebrated in 1979, the day is observed on October 16 each year.
In honor of World Food Day, here are some key things to know about the day, food insecurity in New York City, and how you can help.
1) The coronavirus is deeply affecting hunger in New York City.
About 11% of residents were considered food insecure in 2018, according to data compiled by Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger relief organization.
Due to the pandemic, that number is expected to climb to 19% by the end of 2020.
2) World Food Day adopts a different theme each year to highlight areas of work to be done.
Each year, World Food Day selects a theme, which often focuses on agriculture and the important role it plays in the food system. In previous years, the themes have focused on climate change, family farming and food prices, among others.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire global food system and exposed its fragility. Border closures, trade restrictions and containment measures have disrupted domestic and international food supply chains, according to the FAO website, ultimately reducing access to safe and healthy food.
This year’s theme is “Grow, Nurture, Support. Together”. The theme is a “call for global solidarity” to help those affected recover from the coronavirus crisis. He also calls for using the pandemic as an opportunity to build a more resilient and robust food system.
3) If our food systems are not transformed, undernourishment and malnutrition will increase dramatically by 2050.
Malnutrition weighs an estimated $ 3.5 trillion on the global economy each year.
Additionally, a combination of unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyles has led to skyrocketing obesity rates, not only in developed countries but also in low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 42% of Americans are considered obese.
FAO estimates that undernourishment and malnutrition will only accelerate if inequalities in income, employment or access to basic services continue to deteriorate.
4) Events are planned each year to commemorate World Food Day.
A large number of annual events are organized in member countries of the United Nations to mark World Food Day. Events range from marathons, hunger marches and exhibitions to cultural shows, competitions and concerts.
Find the events of World Food Day in New York here.
5) There are many ways to fight hunger.
Here are some tips and suggestions on how you can fight hunger and help support the mission of World Food Day, according to the event’s website:
- Choose a healthy and diverse diet: Healthy eating contributes to healthy living. When we choose to eat a variety of foods, we encourage the production of a variety of foods. It is not only healthier for our body, but also healthier for the soil and our environment.
- Choose Local: Whenever you can, support smallholder farmers in your community by purchasing fresh, locally grown food.
- Choose in season: buying seasonal products actually reduces your carbon footprint. Out of season foods need to be imported and travel long before they reach your local market.
- Grow Food at Home: If you have a green space at home, access to a garden or balcony with space for plant pots, you can learn how to grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
- Respect Food: To reduce food loss and waste, learn how to properly store uneaten foods for use as another day’s meal.
- Support food businesses and retailers: This can make healthy food options more attractive, available and accessible. It also helps to create employment opportunities.
- Fight local hunger by volunteering: Look for opportunities in your local pantry or community kitchen.
- Donate to your local pantry: Most food banks keep a list of items customers regularly need, and others accept personal care and household items, which are not covered by food programs. food aid such as the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program – SNAP.
Find your local food bank
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“The impact of the coronavirus on food insecurity”
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Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help educate the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that by 2020 more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch Social Good Project; Feeding America receives 100% of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a pantry near you.