In several parts of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in food insecurity because of joblessness and poverty, as well as the closure of schools.
Local non-profit Unalaskas Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence reports a similar trend across the state. The island’s first official food bank has recently opened, but local organisations like USAFV have already stepped forward to support families during this outbreak.
The Aleutian Housing Authority will receive $392,000 in coronavirus relief money in 2020 to launch a food bank as part of its mission to provide affordable housing throughout the region.
An indigenous group in Unalaska, the Qawalangin Tribe, had been assigned to begin operations, but two years ago they lacked the necessary infrastructure. A warehouse and an industrial freezer, both fully supplied, are now at their disposal, thanks to the generosity of numerous local contributors.
When it came time for the tribe’s first food delivery, tribal services coordinator Robin Stepetin stepped up to the plate. She stated that anyone in the community might submit an application for food pickup.
The Unalaska Food Bank does not have any income limitations, unlike the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They aim to help everyone in the community who is in need, Stepetin explained.
When she asked for personal information, she added, “You don’t have to do that.”
If we need to deliver to you, we need to know the name of the recipient and your actual address, so that we know where to send it.
After parents around the country lost their jobs and their children began attending school at home, more than six million Americans applied for food stamps in their first three months of the pandemic.
Unalaska was just like the rest of the state.
To date, USAFV has served as the town’s unofficial food bank. According to Executive Director M. Lynn Crane, the charity reported a 20 percent increase in food aid during the first year of the pandemic.
Crane informed KUCB in a statement: “In FY20, we offered food assistance 399 times.” “In FY21, our first full fiscal year following the epidemic, we provided 481 boxes, an increase of nearly 20%. As a result, the last two years have seen a rise.”
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Crane is thrilled to collaborate with the Qawalangin Tribe and the Unalaska Food Bank to eliminate food insecurity on the island and increase the availability of fresh and subsistence foods.
Dry, tinned, and frozen food are some of the items in the tribe’s food bags. Stepetin said the tribe is making an effort to keep a wide selection of nutrient-dense and traditional foods available at all times, despite the fact that frozen meat and fish aren’t very prevalent in food banks.
According to her, this is made feasible through collaborations with local fish processing plants.
Food donations from seafood processing factories and grant money are helping, but Stepetin said, “We’re looking to expand our collaborations with local organisations and enterprises to accept food donations.” Stepetin added.
The Qawalangin Tribe plans to have monthly food distribution events for the time being, but Stepetin hopes the programme will eventually become a place where :-