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Feeding America meets surge in coronavirus meal demand

Nonprofit reports 65 percent increase in demand because of COVID-19 outbreak

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Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said Wednesday the nonprofit is distributing a recent $100 million donation from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos "as fast as we can" to help communities across the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are putting it out in local communities as fast as we can," Babineaux-Fontenot told "Mornings with Maria." "We are planning to deploy all of that money into communities within the next couple of days."

CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN DOUBLES DEMAND FOR CHARITY DELIVERING FOOD, HOPE

Feeding America is one of the largest nonprofits in the U.S. and touches "every county" in the nation, Babineaux-Fontenot said. It has a network of 200 food banks and tens of thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs nationwide. The charity is experiencing a 65 percent increase in demand on the network because of the outbreak of COVID-19, especially as more children who are out of school need meal assistance, according to Babineaux-Fontenot. In addition, many adults who never imagined they'd need help putting food on the table are turning to Feeding America after losing their paychecks, Babineaux-Fontenot said.

Senior Airman Nicholas Christy helps fill a grocery order for a family at St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP)

"Twenty-two million kids rely upon school lunches for consistent access to food. Now with all the schools being closed, so many children, tens of millions of kids don't have that consistent access to nutritious food," Babineaux-Fontenot said.

Fox News and Facebook funded 10 million meals through a joint $1 million donation to Feeding America. The nonprofit -- along with the First Responders Children's Foundation -- also benefitted from FOX and iHeart Media's Living Room Concert for America, which raised over $10 million.

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