Impact of covid-19 on food security
Experience Ordering Food from the Food Pantry
Food Pantries enhance an individual’s access to food, especially those whose resources are inadequate to buy food for themselves. These pantries have a stock of various vegetables, fruits, and food to enhance healthy eating. However, I have never used food pantries before because of the feelings of shame and blame that characterize food insecurity. I also never wanted my peers to think that I cannot provide my needs. However, I wanted to experience the difficulties or ease of ordering food from food pantries because of curiosity. My objective was to get at least two bags of groceries. I also wanted to find out if these foods were fresh and tasted like those I acquired from supermarkets or grocery stores.
My experience was quite unpleasant because of the waiting time to get served. The demand for food staff was high because of the increasing food demand triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic resulted in some people losing their jobs because of business shutdowns. As a result, people were scrambling for limited food. Thus, I waited patiently for my turn to be served and got the products I needed. With the social distancing measures, the number of volunteers in the food pantry had considerably declined, causing a slowdown in service delivery. Food pantries depend on a network of volunteers to distribute food boxes and create these food boxes. But their numbers had considerably declined because people are no longer comfortable in group settings. The groceries were not different from those bought in grocery stores. They were fresh and met my nutritional needs.
What I expected to Feel and What Surprised Me
I expected to feel out of place because I have never purchased food from a food pantry before. However, my experience was different. For instance, I was surprised by the long queues of vehicles waiting for food. The sight was mind-blowing and eye-opener that still lingers in my mind. It helped me realize the impact of the pandemic on people’s food security. Maintaining social distancing measures, I had a conversation with a lady who shared her concerns with me. She was willing to wait as long as she had food for her loved ones. She also asserted that the food pantries are struggling to restock their shelves, but individuals in the community are going out of their way to assist with cash donations and farm produce. I realized that people are willing to help each other in times of crisis.
What I Learned Throughout the Process
I learned valuable lessons from the whole process. I realized that the future is always unpredictable. I was surprised to see families that would never visit food pantries in a queue waiting for food supply. Because of the current circumstances, they were forced to acquire food from the food pantries. I always thought that challenges like wildfires, earthquakes, or hurricanes would increase food demand from food pantries. These events often affect a specific region in the country, and food banks from other parts support them through various donations. However, the pandemic is something different, because every state was affected, and the population suffered because of unemployment. They depend on the food pantries to meet their nutritional needs because they have exhausted their savings.