With schools closing all over the country, college campuses evacuated and quick-service restaurants shutting down in-store dining, many families and students—especially the food insecure—are scrambling for meals. The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is working with several nonprofits to mobilize food into the communities it serves, but the logistics are more difficult in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
“Mobilizing food within the community is one of the biggest challenges,” says Roxanne Moore, executive director of Sodexo Stop Hunger. In collaboration with other major non-profit organizations such as Feeding America and the Food Recovery Network, the Sodexo foundation is helping to coordinate resources within communities to ensure people have access to healthy food. “Meeting the nutrition needs of children and their families requires collaboration between local organizations like school districts and food banks,” she says.
Right now, there’s also a shortage of volunteers, as Americans are instructed to self-isolate and practice social distancing. In 2019, the foundation mobilized 37,000 Sodexo volunteers, but help is scarce now. “Sodexo still has employees that want to volunteer, but we need to put extra safety guidelines in place,” Moore says.
In addition, the need for financial donations has never been greater. “Since volunteers are down, some organizations need to employ additional people to help feed those in need,” she says. “Plus, food costs going up.”
Food banks across the country are trying to raise additional funds with activities such as virtual food drives, Moore says. For donations given through the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation’s website, 100% of funds go back into the community.
Currently, there are locations designated for curbside meal pickups for K-12 students at school sites, with parents given the opportunity to purchase additional food for the family at a reduced price. Food recovery programs for colleges also factor in, and in collaboration with local food banks, Food Recovery Network and FOOD RESCUE US, operators can find out where food is needed and how to get it there, Moore says.