The economy has crashed into a depression, 16.78 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits, and consumer sentiment crashed the most on record. This American horror story has taken only three weeks to play out, the fastest and most severe economic crash in the country's history, and still, we don't know the true extent of the damage until the second half of the year.
However, the one thing we do know is that food bank networks across the country have reported unprecedented demand as a hunger crisis unfolds. Here's our reporting on the evolution of the virus pandemic, has morphed into a financial crash, and now social crisis:
- Supplies Are Starting To Get Really Tight Nationwide As Food Distribution Systems Break DownFood Banks Overwhelmed As America's "Working Poor" Starve During Lockdown
- America's New Breadlines Are Growing...
And how do we know food bank networks are becoming "overwhelmed" across the country? Well, citizen journalists have launched their Chinese DJI drones overhead food banks to figure out why there are miles-long traffic jams of hangry people. And it appears that these lines are America's new breadlines, similar to what was seen nine decades ago in the Great Depression.
"Hundreds of cars" waiting in line at a food bank in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, on March 30.
Here's footage from April 2, documenting long lines of cars trying to get into the Feeding South Florida food bank, located in Broward County.
On Thursday, the San Antonio Food Bank, located in San Antonio, Texas, aided about 10,000 households with food.
"It was a rough one today," said Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper after the largest distribution day in the nonprofit's 40-year history. "We have never executed on as large of demand as we are now."
Helicopter footage, courtesy of KENS 5 San Antonio News, shows the shocking aerial view of thousands of cars lined up at the food bank, waiting to receive a care pack.
Also, on Thursday, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank saw a "line of cars waiting for free groceries stretched about a mile," reported Reuters. Hundreds of other people, many the working-class poor, lined the streets waiting for food:
Organizers of the food bank said 2,500 families were given a 36-pound box of rice, lentils, frozen chicken, oranges, and other food.
"I have six kids and it's difficult to eat. My husband was working in construction but now we can't pay the rent," said Juana Gomez, 50, of North Hollywood, as she waited in line.
"This food saves me money because my little income goes to my rent," said Daniel Jimenez, 40, an independent contractor for golf tournaments.
"I haven't been working for three weeks. I have a little money saved but I'm paying rent, gas, and cellphone bills. I don't even know when we're going back to work," Jimenez said.
"For a lot of people, they are new to the situation of needing help and not knowing where to turn," said Michael Flood, president of LA Regional Food Bank, noting that many of these people had just been laid off and are waiting for government assistance.
"But that may take some time for them to get those benefits. We want to do what we can to get food in the hands of families, just so they can eat," he said.
Here's another long line of cars at a food bank in Pittsburgh from earlier in the week.
BACKED UP OVER A MILE: Hundreds of Pittsburgh residents waited in line for hours to receive boxes of food from the Greater #Pittsburgh Community Food Bank amid the Coronavirus pandemic. More: https://t.co/xoYb8iJQFn pic.twitter.com/X6z2ahTQvZ— KDKA (@KDKA) April 6, 2020
On Friday, a long line was developing at the San Diego Food Bank.
Another big food distribution by San Diego Food Bank, this involving South Bay: Southwestern College, 9 am, entrance off of H St, a thousand vehicles, many already here pic.twitter.com/Zrv6MTQfYE— Ed Lenderman (@EdLendermanKUSI) April 10, 2020
And another one in NYC...
These are America's new breadlines. As food banks become inundated with hangry Americans, what happens when these nonprofits run out of food to feed people? Could a hunger crisis lead to social unrest?