Food insecurity became a reality for many families in Westchester and Putnam that were struggling to live paycheck to paycheck as well as homebound seniors during the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis. The Hudson Valley 211 Helpline saw a 1,370% increase in food assistance calls between March and August 2020 as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. The calls identified that food insecurity was two-fold: for those homebound who could not leave their houses to get food and for those who lost their jobs and could not afford to pay for food.
“This program is helpful because due to the circumstances, there isn’t a lot of work and our incomes have diminished. We are very thankful that it helps with our meals to feed our children” – Marta, White Plains
“Like many people, we lost our jobs due to the pandemic and have struggled very much with the burdens of bills and food. Your programs
have allowed us to make sure we can focus on our bills being paid while ensuring that we still have food on our tables. Your help in this time is something that cannot be replaced and will never be forgotten.”- Amanda, Mahopac
“We are so thankful for the grant from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. It has been a tremendous help as our emergency food distribution has increased 1,200% since the crisis began.” – Kathy Purdy, Executive Director, Hillside Food Outreach
United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) partnered with more than 50 nonprofits in Westchester and Putnam counties, as well as local governments and school districts to address the food-related issues. Through its first round of COVID-19 Response Grants and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, UWWP administered over $525,000 in funding to local meal programs and food pantries. We also distributed 310,00 lbs of produce and groceries to families and seniors in need as well as coordinated 4,305 restaurant-prepared delivered meals through the Heroes and Homebound Hot Meals Program.