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Second Harvest Of The Big Bend Says The Region's Food Insecurity Has Risen Due To The Pandemic

A woman holds a supermarket shopping cart in a grocery store.
Piman Khrutmuang
Adobe Stock
Second Harvest of the Big Bend has seen the region’s food insecurity increase by 50% since the start of the pandemic.

Second Harvest of the Big Bend noticed food insecurity rise at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And that rate has been sustaining itself ever since. The organization’s Shari Hubbard says before the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity was dropping in the panhandle.

"And then when the pandemic started, things got worse quickly, and food insecurity rate surged to 29%," Hubbard says.

Hubbard says that's a 50% increase. She says many of the people they are seeing are picking up food for the first time.

"These are people that have been impacted by the pandemic, that have lost their jobs, or had their hours reduced or in some way, you know, been ill," Hubbard says.

Hubbard says her organization has had to quadruple the number of mobile pantry distributions they do a month to meet the demand. These mobile pantries go into underserved communities experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.