It’s fair to categorize the impact of COVID-19 as unpredictable and broad, affecting every level of society, including food security. Food banks around the world have worked hard to meet emerging needs, but the scale is large.
Recently, the Greater Chicago Food Depository reported that the organization served 76 percent more people in May than it did in January. According to a recent survey by the Global FoodBanking Network of 47 food banks, “94 percent are reporting an urgent need for food, while 85 percent have had to change their methods of distribution to meet this increasing demand.”
Likewise, Feeding America, which is described as the United States’ leading hunger-relief charity, reported that almost all food banks “have seen an increase in demand, from 10 to 200 percent, with an average increase of 59 percent.”
The increased service numbers are compounded by less available volunteers due to COVID-19, less donations because of individual economic uncertainty, and recent “runs” on grocery store shelves, creating less availability of food.
The challenges and the needs are very real, and Griffith Foods recognizes the importance of these organizations’ work, and the dedication of their staffs and volunteers. We’re also committed to supporting their important efforts.
Guided by our Purpose, that We Blend Care and Creativity to Nourish the World, we are working with partners to address emerging and pressing needs. With the affects of the pandemic still ongoing, we applied this purpose to supporting the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN).
At the outset of the pandemic, we began collaborating with GFN and those on the frontlines of battling food insecurity to understand what they needed most. In those conversations, we learned that in addition to food donations, the organization needed monetary gifts to help them mobilize their operations to efficiently and effectively feed as many people as possible. In response, Griffith Foods converted 100 percent of its planned contributions to immediate, unrestricted gifts – meaning the food bank has the freedom to apply the funds to its most pressing needs and leverage the donation for matching funds. They not only had money sooner than scheduled, but they were able to leverage our donation and get matching funds as a result.
Nourishment Comes from More than Just the Plate
Our support for food banks has also gone beyond food. Locally, Griffith Foods has worked with the The Greater Chicago Food Depository’s workforce development program to train unemployed and underemployed adults to gain employment in the food industry. The program, called Chicago’s Community Kitchens, is a free, 14-week training course that gives students hands-on experience in a variety of culinary techniques and events, including preparing lunch every day and participating in catering opportunities. Under the program, 90 percent of graduates have found employment in the field, going on to work in some of Chicago’s leading professional kitchens, including Hot Chocolate, Nico Osteria, Urbanbelly, and more.
Charitable giving takes many forms. At Griffith Foods, we will continue supporting our communities through local volunteerism, in-kind donations and gifts that drive positive impact. This, like everything we do, is in service to our Purpose – that We Blend Care and Creativity to Nourish the World.