One out of every four American children is currently struggling with food insecurity. During the pandemic, job losses and other financial tragedies have caused thousands of families not to be able to afford food, many for the first time. A survey by Feeding America shows that 40 percent of people seeking services at this time are doing so for the first time in their life, thanks to COVID-19.

The burden on food banks and pantries has been increasing quickly. These organizations are straining under the extra pressure of the increased food insecurity among Americans this year while, at the same time, there has been a decline in donations for such causes. Feeding America estimates that there will be a shortage of six to eight billion meals in the U.S. over the next 12 months. They need our support more than ever before.

Photo: Utah Food Bank/Heidi Cannella

That’s why Chris Pratt’s Feed Thy Neighbor campaign, in collaboration with GreaterGood, Greater Good Charities, The Hunger Site, and 12 Tomatoes, is so important. We at GreaterGood are so honored to have been able to work with Pratt on raising money for this important cause.

Photo: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee/Wendy Rake

A few weeks before the end of the year, Pratt stepped up to encourage Americans to donate to their neighbors in need. He agreed to match donations up to $100,000 and even offered the top donor and five other lucky winners a chance to meet him virtually on Zoom. Winners received $10,000 to donate to the local food bank of their choice.

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Photo: Feeding America

With the support of some celebrity donors and other generous donors like you, we’ve been able to raise about $630,000 over the course of the campaign leading up to Pratt’s New Year’s Eve Instagram Live Telethon, and 100 percent of that money is being donated directly to where it’s needed most—half to Feeding America and half to individual frontline food banks and feeding organizations in the areas hit hardest by COVID-19.

Photo: Feeding America, ASP Capitol Area

That’s right; 100 percent of every donation is going to charity. The Hunger Site even covered all credit card fees so that every cent would go directly to its intended cause.

Now that the campaign is over and the winners have been chosen, we’ve gotten to work distributing the money to Feeding America and food banks across the country.

Photo: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee/Wendy Rake

Some of the organizations receiving donations include Arkansas Food Bank, Utah Food Bank, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Food Bank of North Alabama, Three Square Food Bank, Forgotten Harvest, Lowcountry Food Bank, and Second Harvest Food Banks of Middle Tennessee, New Orleans, and the Mahoning Valley.

“Due to the increased demand related to the economic impact from COVID, the food bank has been distributing 40 percent more food each week in the same period compared to a year ago,” said a representative of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, where there has recently been a 300 percent increase in inquiries from people seeking food assistance. “In June, we saw a 70 percent increase. We have also tripled the amount of monetary grants we’re providing to our agencies so they can increase the number of hungry neighbors served.”

Photo: Food Bank of North Alabama/Bobby Bozeman

Your donations have enabled Feeding America and food banks to purchase heaps of fresh and non-perishable food items for people in need across the country. Thousands of people have shown up to their distribution events and walked away satisfied, knowing where their next meal was coming from. There’s no feeling like knowing your family isn’t going to go hungry, and our donors have helped provide that feeling to so many of our neighbors in need.

Photo: Feeding America, FA Richmond

“I am just so thankful,” says Ashley, a nurse practitioner and single mom who was forced to take a leave of absence from her job at a nursing home when COVID-19 closed down her children’s school. “This really helps me and my family. Thank you.”

Without a steady paycheck, Ashley and her three children, who all have special needs, have been struggling to afford their basic necessities. But with the help of her local Second Harvest food bank, they’ve been able to get food during this very difficult time.

Photo: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee/Wendy Rake

Elizabeth is also among the people who have benefitted from food pantry donations during the pandemic. Her 9-year-old grandson, Joseph, lives with her, and because she is retired, the two live on a fixed income. Elizabeth says she’s had trouble affording food on her limited income, especially when Joseph is not going to school and can’t access the free meals the school would usually provide.

“We need this more than you know,” says Elizabeth. “Thank you. This is truly a blessing.”

Photo: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee/Wendy Rake

The people lining up at food pantries and soup kitchens are our friends and neighbors. They have been in need of our help to get back on their feet during one of the most difficult times our world has ever seen—and you didn’t disappoint them!

Photo: Forgotten Harvest/Chris

“If your family has relied on the support of a food bank this year, please know you’re not alone,” Pratt tweeted a few days before his Instagram Live telethon. “If you’ve ever assisted a family in need, you know there’s no greater feeling. ‘Tis the season.”

Thank you for helping us close out 2020 with something GOOD. We appreciate your contribution to help feed your neighbors in need!

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