Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s Statement on Food with Regards to COVID-19
Friday, March 20, 2020 - 8:24am
During this public health emergency, the City of Madison is focused on making sure our most vulnerable residents continue to have reliable access to food. City staff have been working diligently to organize, collaborate, and communicate with various food resource providers across sectors and geographies – organizations like Second Harvest Foodbank, Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Grocers Association - to ensure that efforts to maintain food provisions are synchronized, informed, and efficient. We are doing our part to identify the needs and concerns of providers and residents and are constantly analyzing and assessing our capabilities to support and fulfill those needs.
Yesterday, on the federal level, the president signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides food assistance funding for American communities. This bill allocates over $1B dollars in support funding for:
- Pregnant mothers and mothers of young children who become unemployed due to COVID-19 through increases in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) -$500M
- Increasing food purchases and storage and distribution abilities of food banks through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) - $400M
- Increasing providers’ ability to offer home-delivered meals to seniors through increased funding through the Older Americans Act - $160M
This response is a start, but the effects of this bill will not be felt for many weeks as the funding winds its way through allocation processes to states, counties, and municipalities. During this time, residents need to support our local institutions and food providers so that they have the resources they need to care for those in our community that need food most. Please consider making monetary donations directly to local food banks and pantries so that they are able to procure the food resources they need to maintain service levels. Additionally, donations to the United Way’s Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund provide resources to organizations supporting community members in the short-term and the long-term.
Additionally, please know that panic-buying creates shortages that make it difficult for your friends, neighbors, and community-serving institutions to stock the resources they need to feed and clothe their families and their clients. Best practices state to purchase supplies for two weeks at a time. Retail supply chains are resilient and efficient, but putting excess strain on retailers by buying more than you need creates shortages that ripple throughout the entire supply chain. Buy what you need, stay calm, and re-stock when necessary. Food retailers are essential institutions in our society and will stay open and stay stocked.
You can continue to get updated information from the Public Health Madison & Dane County website. You can also utilize the City of Madison site. Continue to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, and most importantly take time to care for yourself. This is a stressful time for all so make sure you are kind to one another and yourselves. We will continue to work together through this pandemic and make sure that our most vulnerable populations have access to the food resources they need to stay healthy and safe.
COVID-19 Community Food Resources*
* Please note that this list is far from exhaustive and there are many community-based, grassroots efforts happening all over our city to connect residents in need with food resources
- WI State Journal – 3/18/20: “Here's where you can get free meals in Madison during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic”: https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/here-s-where-you-can-get-free-meals-in-madison/article_7295bbdc-02b4-5383-897e-2241c3987d23.html
- Madison Metropolitan School District - Neighborhood Food Sites: https://www.madison.k12.wi.us/mmsd-covid-19-neighborhood-food-sites
- SSM Health Meals on Wheels: https://www.ssmhealth.com/health-at-home/community-health-resources/meals-on-wheels
- NewBridge Madison: https://newbridgemadison.org/
- Independent Living – Evening Meals on Wheels: https://www.independentlivinginc.org/evening-meals-on-wheels.html
Emergency Food and General Resources
- 2-1-1 Wisconsin: https://211wisconsin.communityos.org/
- Madison-area food pantries are constantly providing updated information on hours to United Way Dane County 2-1-1 staff
- 2-1-1 also serves as a vital connection point for other critical resources
- List of Madison Resources for COVID-19: bit.ly/MadisonCOVID
- Katie Crawley, 608-335-7071, email@example.com