The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed exacerbated hunger for millions of people. Feeding America estimates that the number of those without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable food grew to 45 million people in 2020, including 15 million children. That equates to one in seven Americans and is a nearly 30% increase from 2019.
Connecting people to community food services
We know people are looking for ways to get help, including on Google Search. Over the past year, searches for "food bank near me", "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)", "food stamps application" and "school lunch pick up" reached record highs.Starting today, you can find free food support all in one place on our new Find Food Support site. The site features a Google Maps locator tool to help you find the nearest food bank, food pantry or school lunch program pickup site in your community. We worked with No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to capture 90,000 places with free food support across 50 states — with more locations to come.
Helping people know they aren’t alone
Food insecurity impacts people from all walks of life — especially since the start of the pandemic. Mass school closures made food insecurity five times worse for children who previously relied on free school lunch programs. Black and Latino communities, disabled Americans and those without a college degree have been disproportionately impacted. And according to a recent survey of military families from the Military Family Advisory Network, one in five families reported experiencing food insecurity.
Still, the stigma associated with getting help can be a barrier for many. We want people to know they’re not alone. Find Food Support features stigma-busting videos demonstrating that food insecurity impacts all kinds of people, and highlights volunteers and organizations from around the country who have stepped up to feed their communities.
The site also provides links to food support hotlines, state-by-state benefit guides, and information for specific communities, such as seniors, families and children, and military families. You can also find information about how you can donate food, time and money to support those in need.
There’s a long way to go to fully solving the hunger crisis in the U.S. and around the globe, but we hope Find Food Support helps connect people in the U.S. to free food and assistance in their time of need.