The economic impact of the global pandemic is putting America’s children at an even greater risk for food insecurity. To help address the surging need and as part of its commitment to strengthening communities, Casey’s General Stores, Inc., announced a new partnership with Feeding America to provide funds that will reach school-aged children and their families within Casey’s 16-state footprint.

Before the crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 1 in 7 children in the United States were food insecure, which impacts their ability to reach their potential and contribute fully to their communities. A new report by Feeding America now finds that the COVID-19 crisis has caused an increase in demand for food assistance. As a result, the number of food insecure children could escalate to 18 million, higher than the 17.2 million in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession.

Casey’s $500 thousand dollar program includes an immediate cash donation to support COVID-19 relief to the 52 food banks that reach Casey’s communities, in addition to the recent donation of nearly 40,000 pounds of in-kind food product to two Feeding America member food banks. The partnership will also support Feeding America through a future in-store donation campaign, volunteer efforts and further in-kind food donations.

“Joining forces with Feeding America is a natural reflection of how we live our purpose by being here for good. At Casey’s, we are at the heart of each community we serve, and our communities face a great need for food,” said Darren Rebelez, Chief Executive Officer, Casey’s General Stores. “This multi-faceted partnership allows us to help quickly provide meals in our communities while also creating a program for long-term support of youth and family hunger programs.”

Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund allows Casey to direct their funds to local food banks that reach its communities, supporting the infrastructure needed to swiftly get meals to kids and their families.

“Feeding America food banks are working tirelessly to meet the increased needs of our neighbors who face hunger,” added Lauren Biedron, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at Feeding America. “However, we can’t do that alone. We are thankful to Casey’s General Stores for their support at such a critical time in this fight against hunger. This partnership will help provide more meals to people who need it most.”

“Over our 52-year history, Casey’s has been part of hundreds of communities as we’ve grown from one store in Iowa to more than 2,200 stores across 16 states,” said Rebelez. “We have donated to food banks over the years, and this new partnership with Feeding America will deepen that long-standing effort to address hunger in our communities.”