Soon after the pandemic began in March 2020, food banks and other hunger-relief organizations experienced some of the greatest need from individuals and families living in Arkansas since the financial crisis in 2008.
The closure of businesses and cessation of jobs catapulted people living on the brink of food insecurity into a scenario where having enough food on tables became a weekly, if not daily, struggle.
Government programs that were expanded or created during the covid-19 pandemic helped fill in the gaps, but now many of those have been scaled back or have ended altogether.
Meanwhile, inflation, rising gas prices and other economic challenges have continued to fuel the plague of food insecurity across Arkansas, a state where some hunger relief organizations estimate one in five people do not have enough to eat.
On this week’s episode of Capitol & Scott, Kathy Webb, head of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, discusses the prolonged strain on Arkansas' food bank network, the growing number of food deserts in rural and urban areas and her outlook on efforts to improve access to healthy, affordable food across the state.