COVID-19: Food Banks Prepare for Impacts of Virus, Urge Policymakers to Pursue Program Flexibility
The economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to put an additional strain on our communities which already experience food insecurity. As schools may close, employees may lose jobs, food banks are taking steps to prepare for higher than normal demand. They’re also working on contingency plans for loss of staff and volunteers. Focus Daily News encourages our readers to make a donation to your local food bank if you are able to.
Austin, TX – Feeding Texas, the statewide network of food banks, announced plans this week to address the potential for increased hunger resulting from the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Feeding Texas network includes twenty-one food banks collectively serving every county in Texas. As the economic impacts of the virus begin to mount, the food banks are stockpiling emergency food boxes and sanitation supply kits to distribute to impacted communities. As in any disaster response, the food banks will target their resources to the most vulnerable – seniors, children, and those with long-term illnesses.
To safely respond to COVID-19, the food banks have strengthened their cleanliness and sanitation standards, disseminated educational materials and hand sanitizer for public use, and are testing and implementing protocols to ensure continuity of service should their staff or volunteers be impacted.
Feeding Texas urged federal and state officials to adopt proposed flexibilities in the federal nutrition programs meant to deal with fallout from the virus, including potential school closures and quarantines. Recent proposals include the ability for states to administer P-SNAP, a program similar to SNAP for families of children whose schools have been closed.