Feeding America now projects a 6% increase in food insecurity from 2018 to 2020 in Santa Fe County alone as a result of COVID-19, from 10.7% to 16.9% of residents, and the organization expects every New Mexico county to experience increases in food insecurity.
Jill Dixon, The Food Depot’s director of development, tells the Santa Fe Reporter, while there is no official data on the increase in food insecurity in New Mexico yet, the organization will put together a quarterly report in early July that will reveal how dramatically the need has increased.
Anecdotal reports suggest a 30% increase in demand for hunger relief services.
When the stay-at-home orders hit, public schools, nonprofits and colleges increased their food distribution to previously unimagined levels to help stave off an even deeper hunger crisis.
Some of these essential food employees and volunteers have been doing this work for years; others just since the beginning of the pandemic. All have seen major changes in their lives and work.
Some switched from running a business to volunteering full time. Others grappled with loss of work and isolation.
All have been necessary in the struggle to help others during life with COVID-19.
Between March 9 and June 15, The Food Depot distributed more than 3 million pounds of food, enough to provide more than 2.5 million meals, and the number of people seeking assistance at a drive-through pantry increased from a baseline of 1,200 people in February to a peak of 4,400 people at the end of April, according to Dixon.