Inflation squeezing food banks and pantries
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Food prices have gone up more than nine percent the past 12 months, helping drive the worst inflation the U.S. has seen in decades.
That increase is squeezing people going to food pantries and the food banks supplying them.
The Dare to Care Food Bank said it bought 947,000 pounds of fresh produce last month.
It now costs double to buy that food, and they can’t keep doubling their costs forever.
“I went today to get some chicken; at one time it was $6.99, now it’s $13.99,” Pamela Beals said.
Beals came to the Portland Memorial Food Pantry for the first time. She needed help feeding her family of three.
“We’ve been suffering here, it’s just getting ridiculous for us to support and help our families,” Beals said.
The pantry hands out meat, butter, and produce. Shelves of cooking oil, flour, and canned goods also wait to be distributed.
Supervisor Delores Stokes expects even more people to come now that Kentucky has ended COVID emergency food benefits while food prices keep climbing.
“This takes the place of food they cannot buy, or they don’t have the money for,” Stokes said.
At the warehouse that supplies Portland Memorial Food Pantry and 273 others, workers weigh incoming shipments and sort donations from supermarkets.
Dare to Care CEO Vincent James said the whole operation is getting more expensive.
“We’re seeing a fifty percent increase of the cost that we have to contend with as opposed to pre-pandemic,” James said.
He said donations have helped the food bank absorb those costs, but he said if inflation keeps growing.
“That’s definitely not a sustainable model,” James said.
He said the government needs to step up providing commodities and aid in the next farm bill, to keep people like Stokes fulfilling their mission out in the neighborhoods.
“Dare to Care has told us to feed the people,” Stokes said.
James said more people are coming to get help with food for the first time because of rising prices.
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