Status Report on Hunger

Status Report on Hunger

The Impact of Food Insecurity on Rhode Islanders during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Each year, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank releases its Status Report on Hunger, calling attention to the issues around hunger in the state of Rhode Island.

Download the 2020 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island

COVID-19 Creates an Economic Crisis

The outbreak of COVID-19 paralyzed Rhode Island’s economy. In March 2020, businesses were shut down and schools were closed to stop the spread of the virus. Thousands of people were furloughed from work or permanently laid off.

As the economy slowly begins to rebound, unemployment remains high. In September, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was 10.5 percent with 59,000 people out of work, up from 3.4 percent in February when just 19,000 were unemployed. Job losses are concentrated among low-paid workers. Households with an annual income below $40,000 are twice as likely to have an adult who lost work than the overall population.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, passed by Congress in March, gave extra financial assistance to laid-off workers, adding $600 per week to their unemployment insurance compensation. These supplemental benefits ended in July, even though the economic downturn is expected to last far into 2021.

View the full report.

Action Steps

  • Urge Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation to pass another COVID-19 relief bill that brings back supplemental unemployment compensation and boosts SNAP benefits through this economic downturn.
  • Petition the USDA to provide P-EBT to all children from low-income families when schools are closed for summer vacation.
  • Advocate for the Department of Human Services to implement a comprehensive SNAP outreach program to help newly unemployed Rhode Islanders enroll.
  • Contact state legislators and tell them to support the Governor’s call for increased funding for the Food Bank.

View the full report.

View previous Status Reports on our Publications page.