Feeding Westchester distributed a record 2.1 million pounds of food since the beginning of March and more is on the way. The county’s leading nonprofit, hunger-relief organization mobilized like never before to respond to the coronavirus crisis. The team distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of food in March alone – almost double the amount of food from March of last year. The country may be closed, but food banks like Feeding Westchester, remain wide open to meet the needs of local families upended by this crisis.
Feeding Westchester is providing shelf-stable product, like pasta, rice and cereal, as well as frozen meats, dairy and fresh produce through its drive-thru distributions, bulk drops to municipalities and 300 partner agencies and programs throughout Westchester County. Before the crisis hit, fresh fruit and vegetables made up 40% of food distributed. Now, produce is more than 50% of what is available across the county and especially in underserved communities disproportionally impacted by the virus.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, 200,000 people in Westchester lived with food insecurity every day. The need now has more than doubled to easily half a million people. To put that into perspective, there are only one million people in Westchester. “For many people in Westchester, the crisis has left them food insecure. That’s not something we can fix with a vaccine and we won’t need a test to know that it’s there,” says Matt Honeycutt, VP, Development. “Feeding Westchester is working hard to feed more families than ever before at a time when donated food is drying up and food drives can’t happen. We are buying more food on the open market, but we’re competing with everyone for it.”
As Feeding Westchester continues to respond to the greatest need and demand it has ever seen for food here are home, it’s also providing much-needed support for Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks around the county. The nonprofit’s communications team produced several videos to be used by Feeding America and food banks in communities across America. Of that effort, Honeycutt says, “We’re in New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo set the example when he said New York would be there to help other states when the time came. It’s time, and we’re taking that motto to heart here and helping our colleagues however we can.”