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COVID-19

Feeding America CEO expects to serve 17 million extra people

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal Apr 13, 2020
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A shelf almost bare of canned food. With Americans stocking up on food for future needs, supplies of containers are running low. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
COVID-19

Feeding America CEO expects to serve 17 million extra people

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal Apr 13, 2020
A shelf almost bare of canned food. With Americans stocking up on food for future needs, supplies of containers are running low. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Sudden job loss for millions of Americans has led to a rapid rise in food insecurity. “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity, about what COVID-19 means for her organization and the hundreds of food banks it works with.

When Ryssdal and Babineaux-Fontenot last spoke in December, Feeding America was serving about 40 million people a year.

“We’re expecting an increase because of COVID-19 of 17 million people over the next six months that we’ll have to serve,” Babineaux-Fontenot said. “It’s really unprecedented.”

Despite an outpouring of support amid this crisis, Babineaux-Fontenot said Feeding America still doesn’t have all the resources it needs.

“We need funds, food and volunteers across our organization,” she said. “The vast majority of our 2 million volunteers in normal times are over 70 years old, so we would not want them to sacrifice their health and safety to do this work right now.”

Feeding America has changed how it delivers food to people to add physical distance between volunteers and people in need of food. Babineaux-Fontenot said if Feeding America doesn’t get more help, including federal assistance, the situation “could become truly critical.”

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

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