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Yuba City, CA June 8, 2020 – The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will have a devastating impact on people facing hunger across the country and Yuba & Sutter Counties according to a new study by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. This study is the first of its kind to explore how food insecurity rates at the local level may increase in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Impact of the Coronavirus on Local Food Insecurity analyzes food insecurity rates for the overall population and children by state, county and congressional district. Pre-pandemic, here in Sutter County, 13,250 people, including 5,230 children, did not have adequate access to nutritious food to live a healthy life. However, this new study demonstrates that this number is likely to grow by 5,370, including 2,520 children. That means approximately 18,620 people (1 in 186 people) may experience food insecurity in 2020, including 7,750 children (1 in 77 children).

In Yuba County, 10,870 people, including 4,450 children, did not have adequate access to nutritious food to live a healthy life. However, this new study demonstrates that this number is likely to grow by 4,320, including 2,140 children. That means approximately 15,190 people (1 in 151 people) may experience food insecurity in 2020, including 6,590 children (1 in 65 children). Across the two counties, it is projected that 1 in 338 adults and 1 in 143 children will face food insecurity.

The Yuba-Sutter Food Bank remains committed to partnering with food pantries, local businesses, community groups, and volunteers, to respond to the increase in food insecurity in the Yuba-Sutter community by doing what we do best; feeding those who are in need, said Michelle Downing, Food Bank Interim CEO. The coronavirus pandemic, and its resulting impacts on food insecurity, will require a continued, creative response to making sure people who are in need of food know the Yuba-Sutter Food Bank is a vital resource and is here to help them.

This new analysis was conducted by building upon the approach Feeding America used in two earlier briefs to predict changes to national food insecurity rates for the overall population and children in response to changes to poverty and unemployment. The annual projected unemployment rate (11.5%) is within close range of expert estimates when annualized, including those from a monthly Wall Street Journal survey of more than 60 economists as of May (11.6%), the Congressional Budget Office (11.4%), and Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research (10.3%), and represents an increase of 7.6 percentage points. To account for local unemployment variation, this new analysis adjusts the projected national unemployment increase for likely job loss due to COVID-19 based on an analysis of projected changes in the unemployment rate by industry and occupation by Goldman Sachs Investment Research. The projected local unemployment change for Sutter County is 0.083

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The underlying analysis for the food insecurity projections was conducted by Dr. Craig Gundersen using the model developed for Map the Meal Gap, Feeding America’s annual study of local food insecurity and food cost in the United States.

Key findings for Yuba-Sutter from this report regarding food insecurity include:
• Yuba-Sutter had relatively high rates of food insecurity before COVID-19 and the study shows Yuba-Sutter will continue to see an increase in the rate of food insecurity.
• As closures caused by the coronavirus lead to a rise in unemployment and poverty, more people will experience food insecurity.
• Households with children are more likely to be food insecure. In 2018, across Yuba and Sutter county, 9,680 children (1 in 96), lived in a food-insecure household.

The Yuba-Sutter Food Bank has responded to COVID-19 with increasing food distribution by working with schools and agencies, such as local food pantries and soup kitchens, and implemented a Homebound Delivery program, which food is delivered twice a week to the doorsteps of individuals who are at highest risk for serious illness associated with COVID-19 – including seniors, and people with chronic illness.

Do you want to help the Yuba-Sutter Food Bank? A monetary donation, online fundraiser and volunteering are the most efficient and effective ways to support.

About Yuba-Sutter Food Bank

The Yuba-Sutter Food Bank is committed to fighting food insecurity in Yuba-Sutter through food distribution, partnership, and education. Founded as a volunteer-run gleaning program 37 years ago, Yuba-Sutter Food Bank has grown to an organizational network of staff, volunteers and more than 30 nonprofit partner organizations. To learn more visit www.feedingys.org Follow us on Facebook @ysfoodbank