Millions of Americans face food insecurity due to pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s becoming a familiar scene at food banks and giveaways in Indiana and across the country as hundreds line up for help.

Researchers at Northwestern University estimate that food insecurity in the U.S. doubled in the first few months after the coronavirus arrived.

It’s something that is playing out across the country as jam-packed food banks provide Thanksgiving meals for families.

Research shows food insecurity disproportionately affects Black and Latino Americans, especially those with kids. As the need grows nationwide, some volunteers are noticing another trend.

“Many of the cars you see coming through here, this pandemic is the first time they’ve ever called for help,” said Cat Cvengros with Second Harvest Food Bank.

An analysis from the hunger relief organization Feeding America projects more than 50 million Americans will have experienced food insecurity in 2020, up from around 35 million before the pandemic.

“What the pandemic did was push people from poverty and hunger deeper and push people at the edge into hunger and poverty,” said Joel Berg with Feeding America.

Berg is the CEO of the non-profit advocacy group Hunger Free America.

“This is the worst hunger crisis in modern American times,” he said. “Unless the federal government does something big and quick, we’re gonna see starvation conditions like this country hasn’t seen since the great depression.”

Just last month, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration found that food insecurity is the most pressing need among Hoosiers seeking financial help from the state.

If you need assistance, there are services that can help. Both Gleaners and Midwest Food Bank provide can help with food and critical grocery products. The Indy Hunger Network also has an app called the Community Compass that can direct you to resources in your neighborhood.

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