Fighting Hunger in the U.S. during COVID-19

Through the UNICEF Kid Power Exchange, kids can get together and give meals to families in need in their local community. By unlocking a meal through your activity, you’re helping families get the nutrition they need. Hunger and food security are problems that affect every country in the world, including the United States. During the pandemic, the need for food assistance has increased dramatically. Let’s learn about one person’s story, and how your actions are making a big difference for people like Courtney James.

Courtney’s Story

Like millions of people in our country, Courtney James needed food assistance for the very first time in her life (due to COVID-19).

“I thought [food pantries] were for people who were less fortunate—but anybody could be less fortunate in a day or in a second,”

– Courtney James

During the pandemic, Courtney lost her job as a supervisor at a group home. With no income, she found it difficult to provide nutritious meals for her 4-year-old son, Carter, who loves snacking on fruit.

Four months passed before Courtney found a new job. However, the pay wasn’t as good as her prior role. That’s when she learned about her local food pantry in Central Virginia. By visiting the food pantry, Courtney is able to help ensure her family has enough to eat.

“When I came, I thought, ‘Well, I can use this, especially during a pandemic,’” she said.(1)

COVID-19 and hunger in the U.S.

Courtney and her family are just one of the hardworking families across America who have felt the economic impact of the pandemic. Millions of our neighbors face the difficult decision of paying rent or buying groceries. This has led to an additional 13.1 million people seeking free meals or free groceries for the first time.(2)

How your impact helps

It may take time for families to get back on their feet, and they may still need help from food banks as our economy recovers. Showing kindness and helping our neighbors can go such a long way. That’s why your everyday actions are so meaningful through the UNICEF Kid Power program. Every meal unlocked through the Exchange can help families that are struggling receive a little bit of support when they need it most.

When we work together in the UNICEF Kid Power platform, we can build a more hopeful future for Courtney, Carter… and for many other families. And when we help others, we feel great ourselves, too!


  1. Morello, Paul. 2021. “Meet your neighbors who are now facing hunger during the pandemic.” Feeding America (a UNICEF USA local impact partner through UNICEF Kid Power). March 11, 2021. https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/meet-your-neighbors-who-are-now-facing-hunger-during-pandemic
  2. Slupski, Ash. 2021. “Why more people are getting help from food banks during the pandemic.” Feeding America (a UNICEF USA local impact partner through UNICEF Kid Power). March 18, 2021. https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/pandemic-unemployment-food-banks