Volunteers packing meals

Getting people back to work—and helping food banks in the process

Bank of America committed more than $25 million to nonprofits addressing food insecurity brought on by the coronavirus

Individuals across the United States are looking to overcome the financial hardships related to the coronavirus, including providing enough food for themselves and their families. Food banks, in turn, are experiencing a surge in need, in many cases from people who’ve never relied on their services.

To help local communities overcome these interrelated challenges, Bank of America committed more than $25 million to organizations combatting food insecurity. With that support, nonprofits across the country are innovating ways to enable people who are unemployed find work again —while combating food insecurity.

For example, Get Shift Done, an initiative out of North Texas, is using a $725,000 grant from Bank of America to help unemployed restaurant workers ramp up meal production. In the program’s first two weeks, 6,000 food service workers provided more than 2 million meals to households in need. Additionally, FareStart of Seattle, WA, is part of a national network of food industry and social enterprises called Catalyst Kitchens, which received a $200,000 Bank of America grant. In the Seattle area, the funds helped FareStart distribute more than 200,000 emergency meals and employ more than 150 individuals furloughed in the restaurant industry.

As nonprofits innovatively respond to area needs, they are being helped by a wide range of partners in the public and private sectors. This includes Bank of America’s additional $100 million commitment to address health and humanitarian needs related to the coronavirus, which is in addition to the $250 million in philanthropy the bank provides annually. By May 6, 2020, Bank of America provided more than $90 million in assistance to more than 1,300 nonprofits addressing needs in communities around the world, including:

  • The El Paso Community Foundation received a $75,000 grant from Bank of America to help pay furloughed hourly hospitality workers in support of the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank.
  • In Houston, America’s fourth largest city, the Houston Food Bank saw demand nearly double since the start of the coronavirus. A $400,000 grant from the bank is helping hire workers to support food bank volunteers.
  • In the Albany/Hudson Valley market, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY is deploying a $200,000 grant from the bank to fund the hiring of unemployed workers to deploy food and essentials across the market.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County relied on volunteers for 42% of their workforce pre-coronavirus. With a $250,000 grant from the bank, they have been able to hire more than 100 part-time employees to help pack food supplies. They also launched the Harvest Truck Brigade, a volunteer fleet of pickup truck drivers who deliver food for free directly to those in need.

As the challenges associated with the coronavirus evolve, it’s clear that they mustbe addressed through cooperation at all levels of society. Learn more about Bank of America’s additional $100 million philanthropic commitment to support local communities.

Originally published 5/14/2020