NORFOLK, Va. - Nationwide there have been long lines at food banks as COVID-19 has led to an increase in food insecurity.
It's been busy in Hampton Roads as well. "As you can imagine with the pandemic, there's been a great need throughout Hampton Roads," said Karen Joyner, the CEO of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank.
The group Feeding America is estimating the percentage of people on the Peninsula who are food insecure has risen from about 11-percent to now nearly 15-percent. In addition, one in four children as in food insecure households.
"The face of hunger could be anybody. It could be your neighbor. It could be your friend. It could be your family member. You might not know. They're not necessarily going to tell you that they need help," said Joyner.
Local groups have been trying to keep up with the demand. Several groups created a website to help people in Virginia Beach get access to resources. The group says an additional 13,500 households are struggling to make ends meet.
People may keep their circumstances private. "Not just during the pandemic, but any time somebody is food insecure, it's a very personal, private situation," said Joyner. "People aren't likely to raise their hand and say, 'I'm food insecure' or 'I need free food.'"
The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is also directing people to its website for a list of resources. They don't expect things to let up any time soon. "With the surge of COVID cases, there is not necessarily an opportunity to open up the economy so that people will get their jobs back. Yes, we expect there will be a continued increase in food insecurity compared to what it was prior to COVID," said Joyner.