(Photo: visualization of Coronavirus by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash)
We want to take this opportunity to reach out and let you know how the Hunger Center has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, what we see as our top priorities in the weeks and months ahead, and how you can be involved.
At the time of this writing, all Emerson and Leland Hunger Fellows are still working with their placements and have been instructed to comply with all health and safety protocols established by their host organizations. Most Emerson Fellows remain in Washington, D.C., but are teleworking. Several Leland Fellows have or will be returning to the U.S. from their assignments overseas where they will continue supporting the work of their host organizations remotely. The safety of our Hunger Fellows and the communities where they work is our paramount concern, and program and operations staff are monitoring the situation and reacting as appropriate.
Awards Ceremony Postponed
Our annual Hunger Leadership Awards, formerly set for May 19th, has been postponed until Wednesday, September 16th. We still plan to host the event at Washington, D.C.’s Historic Eastern Market. This is our largest annual fundraising event and provides 10% of the organization’s operating revenue, so we are hopeful that our sponsors will continue supporting this event and the Hunger Center’s work. Learn more about the event here.
End Hunger in 30 Challenge
We are preparing to offer our free online End Hunger in 30 Challenge beginning April 1. Participants receive daily email messages and online lessons on the root causes of food insecurity in the U.S. and solutions to the problem for 30 days. You’ll also be able to discuss each lesson and its implications in the current situation with your fellow advocates using the comments feature on the platform. Learn more and sign up here before April 1.
If you or your family are in need of food assistance, World Central Kitchen is compiling an online resource to map all feeding efforts currently underway in school districts and restaurants across the United States. If your community’s effort is not listed, there are contact links to submit updates.
What You Can Do
If there is anything that gives us hope in these challenging times, it’s the outpouring of good will from those who want to help the most vulnerable people in their communities. Below are some resources to help you connect with opportunities to be part of the response.
- Feeding America’s online locator tool will connect you to nearest member food bank. Each member operates independently and will have different needs; your local food bank will have more information on their website about the best ways that you can help.
- Each state is responding to the challenges of mitigating hunger in a pandemic in different ways. Beginning Monday, March 23, the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Our American States will begin highlighting individual state responses to the pandemic.
- Many nonprofit organizations around the country are mobilizing their resources to protect and support the communities they serve. Beyond volunteering, organizations large and small are in need of unrestricted funds in the form of small donations, which provide critical support in times that call for increased flexibility. If your circumstances allow, now is the time to support organizations working to end hunger in our communities, in the U.S., and around the world. (If you would like to support our mission, you can always make a donation here.)