Food Banks Responding as Food Insecurity Grows Rapidly

May 5, 2020

This week NetSuite is recognizing those on the frontlines of this crisis. Each day, NetSuite will honor different groups who have been supporting their communities. Tuesday recognizes Food Banks for their unwavering support in making sure food is on the tables of our neighbors now, when they need it most.

Food banks globally are facing food and volunteer shortages like they’ve never seen before. Economists predict that the unemployment rate may get as high as 30% in the coming months, according to the Federal Reserve(opens in new tab) of St. Louis which will lead to many families turning to food banks for the first time. Meanwhile, food banks are finding innovative ways to supply those in need with drive-ins, pickup pantries and delivery options—all to serve these surging demands. The organizations are experiencing a 98%% increase in demand for food, which is 17.1 million people over six months according to Feeding America. (opens in new tab) 

Feeding America is the largest network of member food banks in the US, supporting regional and statewide food distribution and advocacy organizations for nearly 40 years. Five food banks that are part of Feeding America’s network are also NetSuite customers, and they are all facing challenges from lack of food supplies, staffing shortages, low volunteer turnout and an increase demand on their operations.

Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been serving meals for over 30 years and is working tirelessly to support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. One in seven people go hungry in the communities the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank serves, according to the I am Hunger in America campaign, more than the national average. As the number of volunteer and supplies and supplies have dwindled, The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank recently turned to the National Guard for help. Thirty National Guard members are helping to pack 1,500 boxes of non-perishable foods per day for the 11-parish area.

Learn more about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Banks’ efforts and how to provide support.(opens in new tab)

Greater Boston Food Bank

The Greater Boston Food Bank works alongside more than 500 partner hunger relief organizations across Eastern Massachusetts. The main stressor, Catherine D'Amato, the Executive Director, explained on Boston Public Radio on April 7, “Is not the supply of food, but the challenge of maintaining the safety of the workers and volunteers who distribute it.” The organization understands the critical role it’s playing to provide meals to those in need and how its technology like NetSuite needs to stay intact for everyone’s safety. Due to the state’s regulations, volunteers must stand far away when packing boxes, which means less meals s are being packed.

Learn more about the Greater Boston Food Bank’s COVID response and support.(opens in new tab)

Capital Area Food Bank

Capital Area Food Bank provides over 30 million meals to half a million people every year in the DC Metro Area. Due to COVID-19, the organization has had to consolidate and modify some of its services due to the closure of over half its network – which is usually comprised of 450+ nonprofit partners, many of which are run by older volunteers or those with underlying health conditions. These closures have occurred against a backdrop of increased demand for its services; some of the CAFB’s nonprofit partners have reported spikes in visitors of between 30% – 400%.

To respond to the pandemic, the CAFB rapidly shifted its operations in early March, beginning to pack thousands of emergency boxes of shelf-stable food to last families for 4-5 days, and distributing more food out to its largest nonprofit partners to account for the closure of others partners nearby.  The food bank also created an interactive partner map to help those in need easily find resources.

Capital Area Food Bank has relied especially strongly on its community of supporters during this time. Musicians, broadcasters and athletes are among some of the regional neighbors that have shared their support for the organization; highlights of which can be seen in a recent blog post: “Look for the Helpers: Local Community Bands Together.”

Learn more and support Capital Area Food Bank.(opens in new tab)

Good Shepherd Food Bank  

Good Shepherd Food Bank has been serving Maine since 1981 and is the state’s largest hunger relief organization. The Food Bank works with more than 450 partner agencies across the state to distribute 25 million meals annually. The organization has an urgent call out for donations and volunteers during the pandemic. “The impacts of COVID-19 in Maine have created a perfect storm—our food supply is down, social distancing is changing the way we distribute food, and the demand for our services is on the rise,” said Good Shepherd Food Bank President Kristen Miale. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Maine ranks twelfth in the nation for food insecurity and first in New England, a reality that Good Shepherd Food Bank knows more than ever now. The organization has been helping food pantries across the state beef up safety protocols to ensure that there is adequate access to food.

Learn and support Good Shepherd Food bank(opens in new tab)

California Association of Food Banks

In addition, the California Association of Food Banks is a membership organization of over 40 food banks throughout the state which provides food, education, resources, advocacy and other assistance to its partners. Currently, the organization is working with legislators and the governor’s office and has successfully advocated for $2 million in funding that will be used to supplement the costs of harvesting, transporting and maintaining freshness of fruits and vegetables to food banks across California.

Learn and support California Association of Food Banks(opens in new tab)

NetSuite is a cloud ERP that supports nonprofit organizations globally like Feeding America and its Food Bank members. Learn more about NetSuite’s Social Impact software donation program(opens in new tab) and pro bono services.(opens in new tab)

For more helpful information from the NetSuite Blog and our friends at Brainyard(opens in new tab) and the Grow Wire(opens in new tab), visit the Business Now Resource Guide(opens in new tab).

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