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Parents Are Skipping Meals So Their Kids Can Eat

The pandemic has deepened the food insecurity crisis

Unsplash / @nicotitto

There is no question that this year has been hard. And it’s not just one thing people are battling against. We have a virus that shows very little signs of slowing down. The economy has been hit hard due to necessary lockdowns. Between this all, it feels like the government is doing very little to help keep families afloat. People have lost jobs, had their business go under, and with no stable financial assistance from any government level, parents are skipping meals, so they have enough to feed their kids.

A new poll conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Two Good Yogurt, shows an astounding number of people are dealing with food insecurity. This crisis has been around for a long time. Still, the pandemic has caused food insecurity to impact more families – and there’s very little support.

According to the 2,000 people who took part in the poll, approximately 1,500 said they had experienced food insecurity firsthand. Roughly half of those who took part in the survey said they knew what it was like to not have enough money to buy food. 35% reported having experienced no idea where their next meal would come from.

Of that group polled, 37% reported having skipped a meal to make sure their kids could eat since there wasn’t enough money or food to feed the whole family. While food insecurity has been an issue for a long time, many people who took part in this snapshot look said that the pandemic was the first time they experienced food insecurity.

“We found that for nearly 40% of respondents, COVID-19 contributed to their first experience with food insecurity,” said Surbhi Martin, Vice President of Marketing at Danone North America, the parent company of Two Good Yogurt. “The majority of those surveyed (63%) also did not realize they were food insecure – indicating a clear discrepancy in our collective understanding of what constitutes food insecurity in the first place.”

It’s not a surprise that the pandemic has made this issue worse, but it’s disappointing there hasn’t been more government support. 79% of the poll respondents said they didn’t have the support they needed when faced with food insecurity, and 60% said the expiration of the federal stimulus programs earlier in the year made it even harder for parents to find food for their families.

If there is any silver lining to this at all, people are more aware of the struggles in their community when it comes to food insecurity. Seven out of 10 people who took part in the survey said they were more aware of the community struggles, and six out of 10 were feeling inspired to give back.

But, overall, what this really highlights is just how damaging it has been to families to not have the support they need to get through this pandemic, in more areas than one.