Local and national organizations are drawing attention to the issue.By Shelby Cassesse

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As coronavirus cases surge, worldwide, national and local organizations are shining a light on growing food insecurity.

David Beasley of the United Nations World Food Programme painted a grim picture of worldwide food insecurity on CBS’ Face The Nation.

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“This is not people going to bed hungry,” he said. “This is people really struggling to get their next meal.”

Beasley said 135 million people were food insecure last year, compared to 270 million people now.

An October report from Feeding America says about one in six Americans are food insecure, a result of growing unemployment and disruptions in the food supply chain.

Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot says it’s impacted certain communities more than others.

“Communities of color are particularly vulnerable,” she said. “They’re two times more likely to suffer with food insecurity. Also, rural communities are far more likely to suffer with food insecurity, as well.”

Feeding America also says the pandemic has reversed nearly a decade’s worth of progress made on reducing food insecurity.

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Western Pennsylvania has seen the impact of that change.

Leah Lizarondo of Pittsburgh’s 412 Food Rescue says food insecurity has doubled locally during the pandemic, which is evidenced by the amount of food her organization has recently distributed.

“We have almost quadrupled our tonnage in this pandemic and it’s only scratching part of the need we have right now,” she said.

Feeding America data shows Allegheny County’s overall food insecurity is projected to be at 15% for 2020, compared to 10.6% in 2018.

Lizarondo says 412 Food Rescue is looking for more volunteer drivers as the problem worsens and winter approaches.

“Give about half an hour of your time and you’ll be able to move food from a food donor into a nonprofit or household that needs it,” she said.

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More information about volunteering at 412 Food Rescue is available on their website: