Davis, who has been public about her own experience with childhood hunger, having grown up in abject poverty, knows this reality intimately:
Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis, the report offers new survey data and poignant video diaries, providing an intimate look into the homes and lives of real families impacted by the ongoing crisis.
Among the report’s most revealing results, half of American families (47%) are currently living with hunger—with Black (53%) and Latino (56%) children among the most heavily impacted. Furthermore, essential workers (74%) make up the majority of working food insecure households. And while unprecedented job loss has led to new families facing food insecurity, a significant number (85%) were living with hunger even before the crisis began.
“COVID-19 isn’t only creating a new hunger problem, it is also exposing a deeply-rooted issue that has long impacted families in our country,” said Billy Shore, founder and executive chair of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. “In September 2019, one out of every seven households with children faced food insecurity; that number quickly increased in the early months of the pandemic, revealing that many families were just one lost job, health crisis or stalled school meal program away from hunger.”
As one video diary participant, Kyle, a New York-based father, noted: “When you’re in a tough situation like this you basically go into survival mode and go back to the basics. How am I going to keep a roof over my son’s head and how am I going to keep food on our table?”
The research also reveals promising implications for future change, as COVID-19 opens America’s eyes to hunger:
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans think food insecurity is getting worse since COVID-19 (58%) and agree more should be done for children (57%). Americans also agree that support at the public policy level is key, as three quarters (76%) believe the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—which offers food budget assistance to families in need—should have its funding maintained or increased.
As part of her work with No Kid Hungry, Davis too has been vocal about her support for SNAP; she penned a letter to Congress urging it to strengthen the program in light of the growing number of families in need of food assistance. “While it will take a combination of resources to help our nation’s low-income families and children,” she wrote, “one of the best ways to feed hungry kids during a pandemic is by making sure their families have the resources to feed themselves.”
Despite setbacks in the country’s progress toward ending childhood hunger in the wake of the pandemic, Shore remains hopeful:
“Childhood hunger, even during COVID-19, is solvable,” he said. “Experience teaches that federal food programs, schools and community groups are crucial to feeding kids all year long, including during the summer. This is often the hungriest time of year for children who rely on school meals which means, for many, this crisis has felt like the longest summer yet.”
Click here for a quick look at the key findings from the report. To view the full report and video diaries, visit LongestSummer.org.
“The Longest Summer: Childhood Hunger in the Wake of the Coronavirus” was made possible in part by C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Presenting Sponsor of the report and a No Kid Hungry Partner.
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But millions don’t know where their next meal is coming from. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger by helping launch and improve programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign by Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.
About Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an award-winning actress of film, television and theater. She is the first black actress to win two Tony Awards for “Fences” and “King Hedley II“, an Oscar for “Fences” and an Emmy for the ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder”. In 2015, Davis received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series,” in addition to becoming the first African American actress to receive the Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.” Davis was recently seen in Amazon Studio’s family comedy, “Troop Zero,” and will next be seen in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on the play of the same name by August Wilson. In 2012, Davis and her husband founded JuVee Productions. The Los Angeles-based and artist-driven company produces film, television and digital content across all of entertainment, with its focus being to give a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful and culturally relevant narratives.
Media Contact: Andrea Holliday, [email protected]
SOURCE No Kid Hungry