COVID-19 is a health crisis, but it is leading to a food crisis. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 820 million people across the globe are already suffering from hunger, and now mainstream food distribution systems have been disrupted due to social distancing restrictions, with panic-buying induced shortages on store shelves and interruptions along the supply chain. In the United States, the traditional emergency food distribution system has also been disrupted since it relies on older volunteers (those most at risk) and a network of distributions sites (community food pantries, churches, and soup kitchens), many of which have been shut down due to the need for social distancing. Food is one of the first places donors give, whether small donors who give $5 to pay for meals for an elder or child, or large, like Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, who pledged $1 billion of his fortune to the crisis, with food as his first cause. You can help by:

Funding nonprofits with specific expertise in broad-based, emergency food distribution. is helping its network of 200 U.S. food bank members meet local needs, including building inventories of emergency food boxes and shifting operations to more mobile and drive-through distributions to support social distancing. The Global FoodBanking Network operates food banks in 40 countries, and is supporting COVID-19 affected need outside the U.S.

Providing food to homebound seniors and children reliant on school meals. Meals on Wheels, which has been delivering meals and social contact to seniors since 1954, is adjusting to social distancing with additional transportation, personnel, and tech-based efforts to check on isolated seniors and provide them with reliable information. No Kid Hungry is making emergency grants to schools and community groups across 40 states and the District of Columbia, for activities like distributing meals via school bus stops in rural communities in Arizona, Arkansas, and Iowa. In Oakland Unified School District in California and other urban districts, they are hiring drivers to stock community food distribution centers where families can pick up free meals for children curbside.

For more on the nonprofits we mention, see Nonprofits to Give To (Examples & Sources).