Food insecurity has been a longstanding issue within the U.S., however, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened concern surrounding the matter. Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network are on a mission to combat hunger amid the coronavirus crisis.
The NAN—one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations—has joined forces with World Central Kitchen to transform its sites into community kitchens to prepare meals for those in need. The NAN’s Harlem-based headquarters as well as a site in Newark, New Jersey are being utilized to make thousands of meals to deliver to senior citizens, low-income families and reentry program participants. Cognizant of the current state of food insecurity—specifically within impoverished and underserved communities—Rev. Sharpton was determined to alleviate obstacles for those facing hunger. “With the traditional safety nets like school feeding programs, childcare services, and senior centers closing, many in our communities will not be able to provide for their families,” he said in a statement. “Our partnership with World Central Kitchen is to ensure our community that we are here for them. In times of stress and struggle, we all need to support one another.”
The World Central Kitchen, which was founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, has provided disaster relief in the midst of global emergencies. The nonprofit donated 3.7 million meals after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and provided food following natural disasters in Haiti and Mozambique.
Initiatives like the one being led by Rev. Sharpton and the NAN are needed. According to CBS News, one in eight New Yorkers faces burdens when trying to provide daily meals for their families. Feeding America reported that over 800,000 people in New Jersey struggle with hunger. Many people are putting the focus on food insecurity amid the pandemic. NFL player Russell Wilson and his wife songstress Ciara pledged to donate one million meals to individuals living in Seattle through the nonprofit Food Lifeline.