The WA Food Fund, which locally benefits Second Harvest and Northwest Harvest, received a $1 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation this week.
The food fund was created in April to help with the increased need for food banks during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent skyrocketing unemployment.
The fund, managed by Philanthropy Northwest, has raised more than $8 million.
“Food assistance is a critical need for people in Washington, with data indicating the economic impacts of COVID-19 will make food and nutrition insecurity an ever-increasing challenge over the summer,” Paul Keating, on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, said in a statement.
Since businesses were forced to close in early March, more than 1.3 million initial claims for unemployment have been filed in Washington.
Northwest Harvest released a study last month estimating that 2.2 million people are at risk of going hungry when the gap between the demand for food assistance and supply peaks, perhaps as soon as August.
Food insecurity disproportionately affects people of color, something Philanthropy Northwest hopes to combat as well.
“As joblessness hits our state, we need to acknowledge that it disproportionately affects communities of color and how racism has long contributed to food insecurity,” wrote Kiran Ahuja, CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, in a statement. “Fighting hunger in our state is one way to address the racial inequities that COVID-19 magnified, and we’re fortunate that the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation shares that concern and is helping families in need.”
Food Lifeline, which provides food in Western Washington, will also benefit from the donation.
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