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Billy Shore, CEO of the No Kid Hungry Campaign, and Rhonda Jackson, Louisiana Director of the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Photo: Axios Screenshot

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated childhood hunger among many families for the first time, Rhonda Jackson, director of the No Kid Hungry Campaign in Louisiana, said Wednesday at an Axios virtual event.

What she's saying: "Louisiana was one in four children that faced childhood hunger. Now the rest of the country looks like that. And what that looks like in real-time is parents having to make the decision if they’re going to actually feed a kid or if they’re going to have to perhaps buy medicine."

  • "Our governor has been really instrumental in making sure that food and food nutrition was a part of the conversation. Making sure that families were able to provide meals to kids has been a long-standing issue for him. So I think that level, just making sure to work with their local government to make sure the programs are in place," Jackson told No Kid Hungry CEO Billy Shore.
Axios Founder and CEO Jim VandeHei and former first lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe. Photo: Axios screenshot

The big picture: Millions of children in the U.S. arrived at schools hungry even before the pandemic. Now families experiencing economic stress and unemployment are for the first time are seeking services and help to feed their families.

  • "There’s so much unemployment now, folks that never imagined they’d be unemployed are having to turn to food banks and think about SNAP benefits and other community organizations that are helping," former first lady in Virginia and national policy advisor for Share Our Strength Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe, tells Axios CEO Jim Vandehei.

The state of play: Nonprofits and volunteers helping children directly have had to adjust their models to keep people safe during the pandemic by gathering protective equipment, creating drop-off routes for children unable to reach pick-up sites and scaling grab-and-go systems.

The bottom line: McAuliffe said awareness for childhood hunger is key to de-stigmatize the issue and help those find the resources they need. Others can also donate, volunteer or write to an elected official that has policymaking powers, she said.

Watch the event here.

Go deeper

Health officials urge flu shots, warning of "twindemic" with COVID-19

Data: NFID survey, Aug. 17-19, 2020; Note: Margin of error for the total survey is ±4.4%; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans need to prioritize getting their influenza vaccine now, public health officials warned Thursday.

Why it matters: The seasonal flu combined with the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a "twindemic" with increased chances of co-infections and an overwhelmed health system. Because symptoms are similar and diagnostics aren't fast, people can best mitigate their risks with the flu shot plus social distancing and mask-wearing this fall and winter.

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

New poll shows alarming coronavirus vaccine skepticism

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

 Lack of trust in a potential coronavirus vaccine is becoming a truly major problem, according to a new Stat/Harris Poll survey shared with Axios.

By the numbers: 79% of respondents said they would worry about a vaccine's safety if it's approved quickly, and 75% said they worry about politics — rather than science — driving the process.

Updated Oct 2, 2020 - World

World leaders react to Trump testing positive for coronavirus

Russian President Vladimir Putin with President Donald Trump at the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Photo: Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

World leaders were sending well wishes on Friday to President Trump and first lady Melania Trump after they tested positive for the coronavirus.

What they're saying: The Kremlin press office said Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram wishing the Trumps well, saying: " I am confident that your vital energy, high spirits, and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus," per Interfax.