According to one report, nearly half of the country’s food banks are reporting an increase in the number of people going to the pantry as runaway inflation has put groceries out of reach for those with limited incomes.
According to data from Feeding America, nearly 45% of the 200 food banks surveyed saw more people ask for services.,
Inflation rose 9.1% in June compared to the same period last year – a clip not seen in four decades.
Rising consumer prices for basic foods like corn, rice, milk, juice and butter have forced many Americans to turn to the pantry.
The price of gasoline is up 60% from a year ago, while the price of grain is up 15% from last year.
Meat and poultry are now 10.4 per cent more expensive than last year, while fruits and vegetables are 8.1 per cent more expensive, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
City Harvest CEO Jillie Stephens said, “With the cost of food rising at the fastest rate in decades, we are seeing that many families who were already keeping their heads above water are now eating faster and more frequently. Depends on the pantry.” DailyMail.com
Stephens said it expected 90% of its recipients to rely more on handouts this year due to record levels of inflation.
Retired home care nurse Pat Young, 64, said she was forced to seek help from the St. John’s Bread and Life Program in Brooklyn because she was unable to buy groceries on her disability benefits.
“It’s really become a challenge to just eat and get healthy,” she told DailyMail.com.
The pantry in Brooklyn provides her weekly packages of milk, corn, canned fruit, juice, rice and beans.
“You’d be surprised how many more people are eligible to use the pantry,” Young said.
“Because the economy is so bad, even many working people fit into a lower socioeconomic class.”
Utah Food Bank President Ginette Bot said inflation is having a profound effect in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bot told DailyMail.com that economic difficulties “have pushed our customers’ budgets even higher.”
High fuel costs were sending her energy bills skyrocketing, “squeezing both sides of the emergency food aid equation,” she said.