The data may suggest a rosier picture, but a D.C.-area food bank continues to see an influx of people who are experiencing food insecurity brought on by the pandemic.
“We have heard over and over from people saying, ‘I never imagined I’d be here,'” Capital Area Food Bank spokeswoman Hilary Salmon said.
More than a year and a half into the pandemic, the Capital Area Food Bank said it is still seeing families that need help with food.
“In July, the food bank distributed 64% more food than we did in 2019, pre-pandemic,” Salmon said.
But recent census data tout the lowest levels of food insecurity since the pandemic started, The Washington Post reported.
Salmon said those numbers don’t match up with her figures.
She told WTOP that the difference may be that for many food-insecure families, this is their first time ever dealing with hunger and reporting it.
“There are many people who had been making ends meet as long as they were receiving a paycheck,” she said. “And when that paycheck stopped, for the first time in their lives, [they] experienced a need to get food on the table.”
She said another factor may be the self-reported census numbers. Many of the families don’t know how to properly explain their circumstances.
“We did a hunger report and talked with a sampling of the people we’re currently serving,” Salmon said. “We saw an enormous amount of people who were unaware of many of the resources that exist.”
She said a lot of people are still figuring out how to navigate assistance and were not aware of the benefits that could help them.
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