Food pantries dry up as unemployment skyrockets

Skyrocketing unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic has been forcing a growing number of Americans to turn to charitable services for assistance as food insecurity among families with children grows.

Philanthropist and New York Mission Society board member Jean Shafiroff joined Fox News to discuss how she’s helping her community and raising awareness to help curb the growing numbers of food-insecure Americans. New York City Mission Society has been serving the city’s most underserved children since 1812. Recently, it has been making food and utility baskets for the children it serves and delivering them during the pandemic.

“I can't tell you how desperately these food baskets are needed...In the New York tri-state area, we have a very serious situation because so many residents live at or below the poverty level,” Shafiroff told Fox News. “The food pantries across the area are very helpful...but the supply and the demand are not working the way they should right now. There is massive demand all over the country --39 million Americans out of work, and this translates into no food on the table.”

Shafiroff noted that a major issue during the pandemic has been getting food to the actual pantries, especially amid the shuttering of multiple meat processing plants across the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has even temporarily loosened its food labeling policies during the coronavirus pandemic to curtail supply chain disruptions and give producers more flexibility amid food shortages.

According to a Brookings analysis, almost 35 percent of households with children said they did not have sufficient food, that's 14 percent higher than during the recession. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Shafiroff is encouraging those who can afford it to make donations to their local food pantry.

“I know my husband and I recently donated 10,000 meals to Heart of the Hamptons, which is a food pantry in the Hamptons, because we feel so strongly about providing food and being part of the solution,” said Shafiroff, who is also the author of "Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give," which explores the meaning of giving back in today’s era. "And of course, 10,000 meals really doesn't mean much when you look at a country with 39 million people out of work, but if we all work together, I believe we can solve this problem.”

For more with Philanthropist and New York Mission Society Board Member Jean Shafiroff watch the full video above.

Emily DeCiccio is a reporter and video producer for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.