A message from the CEO

Demand for food relief on the rise in the midst of COVID-19 crisis

Dear Partners – Yesterday the World Health Organization began referring to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak as a pandemicThis ​expanding health crisis – which is now affecting more than 100 countries – is making the plight of those facing hunger much more difficult.  Food banking organizations are on the front lines, and 25 percent of the GFN network is already providing food relief in places of active outbreaks.  Knowing of your concern about the challenge of hunger, I am writing to update you on how this crisis is affecting our most vulnerable neighbors and local food banks’ response. First, demands for food relief are increasing. Closed businesses mean many employees are put on unpaid leave, causing ​additional financial hardship for food insecure families.  Closed schools are reducing children’s access to school breakfast and lunch programs. Measures intending to reduce transmission such as quarantines and asking vulnerable populations to stay home are leaving seniors and immunocompromised people relying on expensive and limited grocery delivery services. Disrupted supply chains and panic buying mean that food prices are higher than usual, reducing food access ​for vulnerable people.  Second, in the face of this crisis, food banks are providing vital relief.  Nearly all food banks in the GFN network are impacted or preparing for the crisis and approximately a quarter of the GFN network are in countries that have had active COVID-19 outbreaks since January. GFN members have continued to provide food relief during this crisis, except for one food bank that was temporarily closed due to government mandates. ​In spite of declining food and financial donations, ​I am pleased to share that these community-based organizations are devising creative ways to implement local solutions to make sure seniors, children, and needy families have meals to eat.  Third, GFN is actively working with our members to ensure food relief can continue. GFN ​has engaged our entire network and our global partner organizations in the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and planning preparedness. GFN has offered ​our most impacted members ​emergency operational continuity grants ​to support during the early stages of this crisis. ​We have conducted outreach to global partners and have encouraged them to increase their support for food banks in these rapidly changing circumstances. Core to ​GFN’s mission is the conviction that food banks, as community-​based organizations, ​are at the forefront of local ​civil society response to global humanitarian crises. GFN food banks are rooted in communities during this crisis. We need your support, as a key partner, to get through this crisis and continue to build a strong network that serves millions of families.  I hope we can continue to count on your support in these challenging times. I will keep you updated on the work of food banks to address the COVID-19 situation as it develops around the globe.  More to come. My best, Lisa Moon President & CEO The Global FoodBanking Network