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Food banks save lives but need our support

Federal’s extended unemployment benefits and stimulus checks helped people survive the pandemic. When the extra aid came to an end, along with the high inflation, hunger was on the rise again. Rising food and transportation costs have substantially affected people’s lives and non-profit organizations like food banks that help feed families in need. 

Concerns about rising food and transportation costs


The grocery prices went up 6.4% in November from a year ago. People are also paying 50% more in gas prices in December. On December 14, the national average retail gas price reached $3.32 per gallon. 


Rising food and transportation costs mean more hardship, especially for the poorest fifth of households, who need to spend 27% of their income on food (vs. 7% among the highest earners). Consequently, some families turn to cheaper, less-nutritious foods as a temporary solution, but the unhealthy alternatives usually create lasting negative impacts on people’s health.   


Food banks feed people in need and help them live a more balanced life 


According to the Food Bank for New York City (FBNYC), over 37.2 million U.S. residents, or 11.5%, are food insecure. To make the situation even worse, when the pandemic hit in early 2020, one in four Americans were skipping meals or had to rely on food donations. 


In New York State, nearly 2.2 million residents (11.1%) are food insecure, of whom 50% or 1.1 million live in New York City. As a result, FBNYC provided over 100 million free meals in 2020 for New Yorkers in need. Through SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and free tax assistance, food banks helped put nearly $38 million into New Yorkers’ pockets in 2020. Moreover, FBNYC also provided nutrition education programs to help more than 23,000 people sustain a healthy diet and active lifestyle on a limited budget. 


Food banks need our support


Feeding America, a national network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, distributed 6.1 billion meals in 2020, three times the 2009 level. The total number of people seeking help also increased by 50% from 2019. Moreover, many people suggested it was their first time turning to food banks for help. Nevertheless, because of higher inflation, higher food and transportation costs, and fewer donations, the organization expected to see a 30% drop in food supplies. 


Without our help, it is uncertain if food banks can continue providing the necessary services to the people in need. In this season, let’s make a donation to our local food bank and help the people in need. 


Will you help? 

Note: This viewpoint was first published in Hospitality News in January 2022. The picture was downloaded from


  1. Jocelyn Chung, HRT 3500 Section 2April 25, 2022 at 5:08 PM

    During April of 2020, I recall seeing multiple posts on internet forums regarding ways to help those in need those times of crises. One of the posts had promoted a groceries-delivery service for those who are immunocompromised, providing a non-contract method for the elderly to have access to fresh produce. It had made me realize the devastating issue that resides in our nation—adequate access to fresh produce. While this may not be as large of an issue, food insecurity remains, and perhaps worse than ever. I still see headlines on major news networks regarding people’s experiences with the inflated prices of groceries. This deeply impacts the lives of those who provide for their families and those who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

    There is a volunteer opportunity on campus, labeled as “Farm to Pantry Project”, in which students can help plant and harvest fresh produce at the Lyle Center. All the produce goes towards the Poly Pantry, a free resource for students to access food on a weekly basis. It is a great and meaningful experience hosted by ASI, so I would encourage anyone to participate at the next one.


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