Since June 2021, food prices have risen a total of 10.4 percent. This increase is putting a strain on many across the country, including food pantries.
As of 2020, an estimated 6.7 percent of U.S. households used a food pantry according to USDA sponsored data. In areas like New York, food prices have gone up more than nine percent. Judy Secon who commented on the hardship of those depending on pantries when speaking to Gothamist.com.
“This is devastating,” said Secon, deputy executive director of New York Common Pantry. “And people just have had to bear so much of this pain.”
In western Pennsylvania, Westmoreland Food Bank saw the number of families served go from 7,000 to around 9,500 according to CEO Jennifer Miller in an interview with Trib Total Media.
The combination of higher prices and more people in need have led to some pantries to a lack of access to common items. The Bay View Community Center in Milwaukee is one of these places, with items like eggs and milk being inaccessible or low in supply.
These shortages are offset by a variety of means, including food grants like Feeding Our Future, which is provided from Indiana State Dining by Sodexo. The grant recently awarded $20,000 to Manna From Seven, a food pantry in Terre Haute. The pantry expressed gratitude in a statement to cleanlink.com about the grant.
“This is a gift that will make a huge impact on the lives of the people we serve,” says Manna From Seven CEO Susan Seitz. “Primarily, because we can give them protein now. We have not been able to provide meat for a few months.”
Grants like these, which also are being carried out in Dane County, Wis., and across Michigan, will be a crucial part of providing to the 6.7 percent of American households who rely on the pantries to feed their families as the hope of an end to high inflation remains the end goal.