The Challenge Ahead
“It’s been a challenging two years”— said everyone, everywhere. The food bank network continues to experience a huge increase in demand, ranging from approximately 60 percent spike in traffic in mid-2020 to 50 percent at the end of last year. The difference for food banks now is the same situation that is hitting all consumers — the price of all goods is going up. Food at home costs are up 9.3 percent in October 2021 relative to January 2020. To add insult to injury, cost increases across the supply chain have made donations to food banks more expensive.
Our partners and donors remain generous (see their exuberant support of our work below), helping us generate 14 million servings of nutrient-rich seafood for more than 4.6 million Americans since the pandemic began. In 2021, SeaShare distributed seafood donations from 48 shore-based and at-sea processors to food banks and feeding centers in 28 locations nationwide. Those locations received approximately 20 different product forms that are all critical sources of omega-3 rich foods.
We continue to advocate for seafood as a prime source of protein for low-income nutrition. Since the pandemic began, SeaShare has worked with processors in New England to develop new food bank donations using seafood that was not moving through foodservice channels and could have ended up as food waste. However, once restaurants opened back up and the different COVID variants started impacting all points in the supply chain, that supply for food banks has dwindled.
We are managing our expenses conservatively. Our overhead – the cost to keep the doors open – remains below 6 percent. We appreciate all that our partners have done to help us support communities, food banks, and families during this pandemic. What we need now is more nutrient-rich seafood to send to food banks. Please let us know if you have ideas that will continue to feed those in need with nutritious seafood.