More than 50 million Americans facing hunger in 2020, projections show

Out of work and out of food, massive Thanksgiving giveaways from Denver, Miami and Dallas have become the new lines of the times.

“It helps everyone. Believe me because of unemployment this helps,” said Manny Castaneda. “I never expected something like this to happen to me. It hit me pretty hard, and now I am extremely grateful.”

Beyond the holiday, Feeding America projects more than 50 million Americans will have faced hunger in 2020 – up from around 35 million before the coronavirus pandemic. That translates to 1 in 6 people, including 1 in 4 children, experiencing food insecurity this year.

“I need food. I need turkey. I need meat,” said Janet Jones. “My family is not working.”

Erica Yeager, chief external affairs officer for the North Texas Food Bank, said they’re serving 10 million meals a month.

“History tells us that we can expect to see this elevated need for at least the next two years,” she said.

Schools like the Texans Can Academies are also helping hungry families.

“Loss of employment really hurt,” said Brandi Glasco, who lost her home health care job during the pandemic and is scraping by as a seasonal worker for FedEx.

“As a mother, you never want your kids to see you worry or panic,” she said. “So it got a little hard. It got a little questionable there.”

Glasco added that she was “absolutely” worried about missing bills and had no money in her bank account.

In Texas, children are especially struggling during the pandemic. Feeding America projects there are more than 2 million kids facing food insecurity in the state. It’s a reality 17-year-old Michael Glasco is now facing.

“Right now I’m trying to graduate and get a job,” he said. “That will help like with the bills and stuff.”

It’s a wake-up call for a generation coming of age in the midst of a pandemic.