Feeding America CEO: ‘Some of the People Who Were Donors Are Now … in Need of Our Services’

By Melanie Arter | May 18, 2020 | 8:44pm EDT
Close-up of logo for hunger charity Feeding America on product box, San Ramon, California, November 23, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Close-up of logo for hunger charity Feeding America on product box, San Ramon, California, November 23, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that some of the people seeking food donations now were once donors.

According to Babineaux-Fontenot, “40 percent on average of the people that we're seeing now have never relied upon the charitable food system before now.”

“So we're definitely seeing different people showing up. So many of the people who are there, they're kind of familiar to us. Some of the people who were donors are now in line in need of our services. So there's been a change, to be sure, but one of the things that I think the American public simply wasn't aware of is that even before this pandemic, there were nearly 40 million people who were food insecure and over 11 million of them were children,” she said.

“So we've had a challenge for a while. This pandemic has just heightened that challenge, and a lot of people are in need of help right now,”  Babineaux-Fontenot said.

She said her charity is seeing “a marked increase in demand” to the tune of 60 percent more people showing up in need of services.

“At the time that we're having that increase in demand, we have a decrease in donations. We have an increase in cost of food, and we have a decrease in volunteers. So it is, in fact, a perfect storm,” Babineaux-Fontenot said.

She said that SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is good for the economy, because there’s a return of $1.70 for every dollar invested in SNAP.

“For every one meal that we're able to provide in the charitable food system, SNAP can provide nine, and one of the interesting things about SNAP is not only is it good for people right now in the middle of a pandemic and an emergency, but it's also good for the economy,”  Babineaux-Fontenot said.

“We have data that shows that for every dollar invested in SNAP, the return is $1.70. So there are lots of good reasons for all of us to be thinking about and urging our members of Congress to pass additional legislation so that we can increase access to SNAP and so that we can increase the thresholds in terms of how much people can receive from SNAP. So that's first and foremost,” she said.

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