Feed the Children, a leading hunger relief organization, is working with community partners across the United States to provide food and essentials to thousands who are homeless or at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are more than 500,000 people in the United States who are homeless on any given night. While cities like San Francisco and New York City are sheltering residents in vacant hotels as coronavirus spreads, many organizations across the country have had to adjust their operations to follow CDC guidelines since homeless services are often provided in congregate settings, which could facilitate the spread of infection.
Agencies said these measures have become critical since the already few public spaces and businesses welcoming to people experiencing homelessness have shut their doors. Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at higher risk for severe disease than the general population.
“When COVID-19 hit, we had to completely shift the way we operate in order to continue serving people who are among the most vulnerable in our community while working to limit the spread of the virus,” said Kinsey Crocker, Director of Communications for The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City.
Feed the Children was there to help meet the needs of the organization by supplying laundry detergent, food and hygiene items such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste.
“The donation of food supplies and hygiene products from Feed the Children has allowed the Homeless Alliance to make 100 hygiene packs to distribute. We’re working on 500 outreach sacks to deliver food, supplies and educational materials to people who are unsheltered,” Crocker added. “To meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable housed clients who don’t have resources to stock up, we have made 150 food boxes and dropping them at people’s doorsteps.”
Another Feed the Children partner, Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida provides nearly 2,000 units of housing –permanent, transitional and temporary – as well as temporary emergency shelter for both families and adults. The organization added a temporary emergency homeless shelter as the effects of COVID-19 began spreading in Tampa. It was at capacity in less than two days.
“Support from partners like Feed the Children has been critical as we work to meet the growing needs of families in South Florida,” said Maggie Rogers, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg. “COVID-19 has made a profound impact on our community and the food and beverages we received has allowed us to continue to serve those who have been impacted.”
To date, Feed the Children has worked with 215 community partners to distribute more than 10.2 million pounds of food and essentials to families across America who have been affected by COVID-19. The nonprofit has provided food and essentials to 20 partners across the United States who are working to serve homeless individuals and families.
“Feed the Children is taking action to ensure our neighbors aren't forgotten. We understand that many Americans are facing unexpected challenges, and we are working diligently with our corporate and community partners to ensure that as needs rise, children and their families continue to receive the food and supplies they need,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children president and CEO.
For more information on how Feed the Children is working to help families across America and around the world, visit feedthechildren.org/covid19.