Luther, William. “People lined up in their cars at a food distribution site in San Antonio, Texas.” April 9, 2020. The San Antonio Express-News, via Associated Press.

When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, the vulnerability of many Americans’ lives were thrown into stark relief. Widespread business closures created mass unemployment, and food insecurity skyrocketed. Like COVID-related death rates, COVID-related food insecurity rose more sharply among communities of color and among populations typically overlooked and underserved, such as single mothers, LGBTQ seniors, and Indigenous communities.

Where is it located in the Museum?
Little, Lauren A. “Siblings Alexander Francisco, 6, and Jovani Francisco, 8, pick up meals in Reading, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 2020.” MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images.

Early responses to COVID-19 offered struggling Americans temporary emergency support in the form of stimulus payments as Congress passed vital — yet short term — improvements to federal nutrition programs. When President Joe Biden took office in 2021, he centered the government’s responsibility to take care of those in need with key policies that were part of his “American Rescue Plan.” While many of these programs brought a measure of stability to American households throughout the pandemic, their temporary nature meant critical programs were due to sunset with the end of the public health emergency, even as families continued to struggle.

Where is it located in the Museum?