‘It’s impossible’: Families feel food insecurity across commonwealth
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With kids out of school, there’s more pressure on parents to provide three meals a day.
“I have three kids at home still, and a gallon of milk is four dollars a gallon,” mother Amanda Langley said. “And with three kids needing milk, it’s impossible.”
Louisville nonprofit Neighborhood House is doing everything they can to make it possible to feed everyone with their food pantry in Portland. They serve children and families in Dare to Care’s service area, including all eight counties in Kentucky and five counties in Southern Indiana.
Anyone can stop by to pick up box of dry, canned, and frozen goods. All someone needs is their ID and a piece of mail.
Neighborhood House’s food pantry, located at 201 N. 25th Street, is open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
”We provided boxes to 45 families today who needed a little help stretching their grocery bill,” Neighborhood House Executive Director Jennie Jean Davidson said. “That’s a record for us, in fact the last time we got anywhere close to that was during the height of the pandemic.”
Dare to Care said nationally more than 42 million people, including 13 million children, experienced food insecurity in 2021 due to COVID-19.
At the height of the pandemic, Dare to Care said there were 170,000 food insecure individuals. That is over 30% of people in the 13 counties across WAVE Country.
Now, there are at least 150,000, and that number seems to be growing, Dare to Care said.
Feedback from their partners suggests this year’s numbers might be creeping up since inflation started in February.
”We are getting calls daily from our partners, saying that they are seeing a rapid increase in the number of folks coming to them needing help,” Stan Siegwald of Dare to Care said.
Since supply chain challenges and inflation hit in February, the two biggest ticket items for their 250 nonprofit partners have been transportation and food.
”Energy bills are up, gas prices are up, all those things hit our budget, just like they hit anyone else’s budget,” Davidson said.
Despite the hurdles nonprofits face to fill boxes with food, they know the meals they help provide mean more than ever.
”They are getting the things that they need, and I don’t have to say, ‘no, you can’t have a piece of cheese,’ or ‘no, you can’t have a peanut butter sandwich,’ or ‘I’m sorry, you are only going to eat one time today;’ I don’t have to say that with places like this,” Langley said.
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