The Coronavirus -Covid-19- pandemic has affected thousands of people already and for different reasons. Despite the magnitude of the outbreak and its direct and most obvious consequences to human lives, the crisis has left people out of work, companies shutting their doors and supermarket shelves completely empty. Communities and cities need to be aware of this situation and avoid that our most vulnerable, our elderly and households with low income, are the ones that suffer the most at the end of this.
Since the pandemic broke out, people have been stocking up on food and supplies. Rice, pasta and hygienic products among others have been on high-demand and in many supermarkets and groceries it is usual to find their shelves completely empty. Governments and local authorities have recommended stocking up on supplies in case they need to go through self-isolation or a complete lockdown. However, not everyone has the opportunity to take this precaution.
“Consider the nearly 40 million Americans who struggle with food insecurity. These households almost certainly don’t have the excess cash to stock up on groceries in case they need to isolate at home for extended periods. Think of the 30 million schoolchildren across the country who rely on school meals to fill their bellies twice a day, and the thousands of food pantries that rely on volunteers to distribute donations. And what about working families who cannot use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to order food online? For these families, the relatively modest inconveniences many Americans will confront due to disruptions in the food system could have catastrophic consequences,” says Devon Klatell Managing Director at The Rockefeller Foundation in a recent article.
Same principle can be applied to our elderly and key workers, like healthcare staff and police officers. As the panic buying left entire supermarkets completely empty, they were struggling to find fresh vegetables, milk and other essential supplies when they were out of work and going shopping groceries.
There has been a lot of coverage in recent weeks about the difficult reality for low-wage workers whose employers do not provide paid sick leave, they are to be laid off or they can’t access benefits. This puts these workers – many of whom provide food and healthcare services to their communities – in the impossible situation of having to choose between their own health and employment. There is less coverage, however, about the equally critical questions regarding how we ensure equity in access to food as our communities and countries continue to confront the coronavirus.
Communities and countries need to take measures to ensure that no one is really left behind during this crisis. That is why The Rockefeller Foundation present four questions that government officials, employers, businesses and community leaders across the country should be asking themselves right now:
Fortunately, some community groups, food bank associations, school districts and policymakers have started to take action.
In the UK, for example, major supermarket companies had announced the "golden" hour to help the elderly and NHS workers buy essential supplies and groceries during the coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, in the US, some organizations are working quickly to expand access to food-related services and build more flexibility into the system to ensure that all Americans are able to feed themselves and their families, even in these uncertain times. One of those is The Rockefeller Foundation, who will be reaching out to these groups and their own partners in the coming weeks to see how they can best support their efforts.
“I hope leaders around the country will do the same,” added Devon Klatell.
Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of openbusinesscouncil.org, tradersdna.com, hedgethink.com, and writes regularly for intelligenthq.com, socialmediacouncil.eu. Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.