April 21, 2020

More Americans In Need, But Getting Food is Harder

The pandemic has nearly doubled demand at food banks.

Thirty-seven million Americans faced food insecurity before the pandemic. Now, 22 million people are out of work. With schools–which often supply students from low-income families with subsidized meals–having closed, demand has skyrocketed at food banks across the nation. And they are struggling to keep up. 

In a recent survey, Feeding America reported a 98 percent increase in demand. Last week, the Trump administration announced a $19 billion aid package for America’s farmers and ranchers, $3 billion of which will be used to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat products for Americans struggling with hunger. 

However, many organizations lack space to store more perishable products and say they need for shelf stable goods. They’re also facing distribution challenges and fewer volunteers. Although Congress included emergency food assistance in recent legislation, funding isn’t meeting soaring demand. Getting additional funding for SNAP–the fastest way to distribute resources to people in need– remains an uphill battle.

And some policy questions are still unresolved, like extra pay for school food workers who have been feeding entire communities while schools are closed. And lifting ‘stay at home orders’ could change how food is distributed.

Who Run the World? Girls

Coronavirus is posing unique opportunities and challenges for women

Only 7% of the world’s leaders are women. But those in Taiwan, Germany and New Zealand have disproportionately made headlines with their progressive and effective tactics to combat the virus.

At the same time, while more American men are dying from the coronavirus than women, women are more financially affected by the virus. Many frontline workers – like grocery store cashiers, nurses, cleaning staff and hospitality workers – are women. They fill as many as one in three jobs reported essential. Nonwhite women are even more likely to hold these occupations, even though they earn less than already underpaid white women.

And as these typically unseen and undervalued women continue to go to work every day, recognized in this crisis as “essential,” some may wonder if their status will fade with the pandemic.

But others theorize the outbreak could cause the next shift in gender “role-reversals” like WWII did. As more men assume the home caregiver role while women do other essential jobs, advocates are hoping the outbreak could mean lasting progress on the gender pay gap, traditional gender roles and appreciation of these jobs in general.


COVID-19 By The Numbers

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Public concern about COVID-19 infection has waned

The percentage of adults reporting they are ‘not at all concerned’ has increased over the past three weeks while the percentage indicating they are ‘very’ concerned has dropped from 38% to 32%. 

GPG’s past analysis showed the curve was certainly flattening. But this is the first indication of a decline, even as new reported infections in the U.S. still number in the tens of thousands daily.

Recent reports of antibody testing and steps by some states to reopen the economy could be behind the change in public sentiment. However, with many states now entering their second month of stay-at-home orders, the new normal may just be starting to feel safe.

There’s No Business Like Show Business

Of the 14 movie theaters currently open in America, 13 are drive-ins. 

For most people, drive-in movie theaters have gone the way of the sock-hop and American Bandstand – a relic of the America of yesteryear. 

But COVID-19 has meant a resurgence of popularity for these outdoor theaters, where people can watch movies on the big screen from the safety of their own cars. One Florida drive-in owner says people are coming from all over the state, and business is almost double what’s normal for this time of year. 

The box-office receipts from a handful of drive-in theaters surely made up just a tiny percentage of the record-breaking digital release of Trolls World Tour. But families’ willingness to flock to drive-in theaters for the trolls signals people are still craving the cinematic experience–and craving what’s normal

When drive-in owners can’t get hold of recent releases, they’re going back to classics. And in Wichita, Kansas, the Starlite drive-in theater is expanding entertainment even more. It’s currently planning a socially-distanced graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.