Two Years into the Pandemic, Charitable Food Remains a Key Resource for One in Six Adults

Despite federal stopgap policies and a substantial charitable food response to mitigate the effects of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, hunger remains a reality for many across the U.S. struggling to make ends meet. Although charitable resources such as food banks were highly visible in the early months of the pandemic, they continue to be a crucial resource for families two years later. This brief analyzes data from the December 2021 round of the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey, a nationally representative survey of more than 8,000 adults, in comparison to results from the December 2019 and December 2020 rounds to examine the trend in free-grocery or free-meal use. It also examines the characteristics and circumstances of people who sought charitable food during 2021.

Record Type: 
Research-To-Practice Brief
Publication Date: 
May, 2022
May 2022
Partner Resources
  • Supportive Services
    • SNAP/Food Assistance
  • Special Populations