Covid and Food Insecurity in 2022
In 2019 before the pandemic more than 35 million people in the US were food insecure. This includes nearly 11 million children. As difficult as these numbers are to rationalize, progress was being made to address the needs of the food insecure. Then, in early 2020, the coronavirus began to spread across the United States. One result was the recession, another was that after years of and declining food insecurity, COVID 19 turned the tables and food insecurity is once again on the rise.
Food insecurity may be defined as lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in the household to live an active, healthy life. COVID 19 has created a pattern of Very Low Food Insecurity which means an even more reduced food intake and disruption in eating patterns.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks feeding more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other community-based agencies. Feeding America through ongoing research and data analysis projects food insecurity nationally and by state and county.
In a recent report, Feeding America ranked states and counties with high levels of food insecurity. The 2021 report revealed that Texas ranked #1 among all states with the highest projected number of people living in very low food secure households (1,827,780) and the number of children living with very low food security (479,660). In addition, Dallas County ranked 5th having the highest number of total people living in very low food insecure households in 2021.
In our Diocese, congregations continue to meet the growing need of food insecure adults and children. Through a generous van donation by the Diocese, Debra Vela, deacon at Christ Church in Oak Cliff travels to multiple locations providing needed food. Some of the locations include St. Mary’s Irving, Emanuel Garland, St. David Mesquite, St. Marks Mt. Pleasant. Debra with help from volunteers provides food to over 100 people per location.
St. Luke’s Dallas has also provided “grab n’ go” lunches for children during the “COVID” summers of 2020 and 2021. St. Luke’s provided 50 lunches, five days per week during the months of June, July and August! St. Matthews Cathedral’s food pantry currently serves on average, 425-450 people weekly. This is 140% more people served than before Covid 2020!
Hunger has always existed. In 2011, I was fortunate to be part of a grassroots effort to address hunger in Dallas County. Today, the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions (DCHS) continues to flourish with multiple community partners including members of the faith community. DCHS current mission is to “Empower Dallas County residents to gain equal access to health food” (through collective impact).
Fifteen individuals representing multiple public and private entities represent the Coalition Leadership Team. Five action teams are employed to focus on Child Hunger, Senior Hunger, the Faith Community, Urban Agriculture and Public Policy. Chelsie Hoard from the Dallas Baptist Association and I (representing EDOD) co-lead the Faith Community Action Team (FCAT). We engage churches and assist their efforts in addressing hunger in their communities. The FCAT team meets every other month via Zoom. The next meeting is April 28th and If you are interested in joining this meeting and others, please let me know.
Finally, there is a resource page attached which might be helpful for your congregation and individuals in the community who may be searching for ways to meet basic needs such a food, clothing and housing. Also, FCAT has published the 5th edition of the Hunger Solutions Guide for the Faith Community. The guide list ways congregations of all faiths can join hands with well-established nonprofits to address hunger. The Guide can be found on the Coalition website to at www.dallashunger.org.
For more information or if your congregation is interested in learning more about demographics or food insecurity in your community, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 214 500-7205.