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Residents line up in their cars at a food distribution site in Clermont, Fla., Nov. 21. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Thousands of Americans waited in long lines at food banks in the week before Thanksgiving to pick up turkeys, canned goods, broccoli and other vegetables.

Why it matters: As the holiday season approaches, families across the U.S. are in need of food assistance due to chronic unemployment and economic hardship caused by COVID-19 — and many food pantries already served an unprecedented number of people this spring.

Zoom in: The Middle Georgia Regional Food Bank, part of the Feeding America Network, has distributed almost 3 million meals this quarter — 1 million more than the previous quarter before the pandemic began, NPR reports.

  • Los Angeles' First Unitarian Church expected roughly 1,000 people to line up this weekend, CNN reports, while people in DeKalb County, Georgia, lined up nearly five hours before one food drive opened.
Volunteers distribute turkeys and other food assistance in Clermont, Fla., Nov. 21. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Food Bank for New York City, Tracy Morgan, and Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. distribute turkeys to Brooklyn families, Nov. 21. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank for New York City
Indiana National Guard members help distribute Thanksgiving meals at the Hoosier Hills food bank, Nov. 20. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Volunteers with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and the City of Orlando at Jones High School, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 20. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Cars line up as Pantry 279 food bank distributes Thanksgiving meals in Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 21. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
People line up as Food Bank for New York City distributes turkeys to Brooklyn families, Nov. 21. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank for New York City

Go deeper

Emhoff highlights food insecurity on first outing as second gentleman

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right) speaks with volunteers of the nonprofit Dreaming out Loud at a farm in Northeast Washington on his first solo outing. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff used his first official outing as second gentleman Thursday to learn about and raise awareness for food insecurity, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The farm that Emhoff visited at Washington, D.C.'s Kelly Miller Middle School has shifted its focus during the COVID-19 pandemic to help get food to people who are vulnerable to hunger. "Food security is a racial justice issue," said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud, the nonprofit that runs the farm.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.