The critical concern of food insecurity in the U.S. has become clearer during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic as millions of workers lost their jobs and access to help waned.
Craig Newmark, the founder of classifieds website Craigslist, has announced a commitment to donate $15 million to snuffing out hunger in the U.S. This is in addition to the $10 million that the Craig Newmark Philanthropies organization pledged in October. Newmark said it is time to put his money where his mouth is and take action to ensure that Americans have food on the table.
"For years I've been aware that people were going to bed hungry. Then a few months ago or so I realized that the pandemic and related economic damage had made that problem much more," Newmark told Cheddar. "I couldn't rationalize it away. Thinking about it more got me pissed off, and then finding out how it affects veterans and their families pissed me off even more. So I decided to act."
The funds will be allocated to philanthropic organizations that are already committed to addressing food insecurity. According to Newmark, the organizations will take a three-phased approach to address the issue: filling a person's plate today, helping them navigate eating for tomorrow, and finally, planning for the future on a macro level so no Americans go hungry again.
"The pandemic has accelerated us to some kind of new normal. We don't know what that's going to be, but it's going to affect jobs, job markets, maybe universal basic income. I don't know, but the idea is to get people fed now while looking into the future because the whole situation just sucks. And we need to get people fed now, tomorrow, and beyond," he said.
While Newmark was not the biggest fan of the Trump administration's handling of hunger in America, he said he is optimistic about President Joe Biden's commitment to "addressing the economic damage, the collateral damage, that's been caused by the pandemic."
The Biden administration has already expanded Pandemic-EBT benefits by nearly 15 percent, giving food-insecure families more monthly funds as the pandemic continues.