Almost a year ago, the impact of the COVID-19 emergency hit South Louisiana like a ton of bricks. Then back-to-back hurricanes devastated Southwest Louisiana and coastal parishes. The need for food has skyrocketed and has become the new normal for far too many people.
As I reflect on 2020, I’ve been simply amazed at the outpouring of love and support from the community, our partners, and donors like you. Your support has helped Second Harvest nearly double the number of meals we have provided to people in need in the past year. That’s more than 50 million meals!
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and hurricane recovery means that we will be in this new normal throughout 2021. Operating at this historic level for many more months has very real costs. How is Second Harvest meeting these unprecedented needs?
More food: While we’ve been fortunate to receive millions of pounds of additional food from the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, we don’t know how long this will continue. Product donations continue to be unpredictable and food costs have risen dramatically.
More staff: Thanks to donors like you, we were able to hire additional drivers, warehouse specialists, kitchen staff, and other critical personnel needed to help feed many, many more people.
More equipment: To make it possible to move the millions more pounds of food over the last year, we purchased or leased additional trucks, vans, forklifts, computers, and other vital equipment to get the meals out our doors.
More outreach: When many of the pantries supported by Second Harvest closed due to the pandemic, Second Harvest provided millions of extra meals at large distributions across our 23-parish service area. Our team distributes up to 300,000 meals at each of these events attended by thousands of South Louisiana families.
Fighting hunger is a community-wide effort, and simply put, we need you. Every single meal we provide to a family, a child, or a senior is because someone like you opened their heart. Words cannot fully express my gratitude for everyone who has donated food, funds, and volunteer hours during this crisis.
President and CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank