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U.S. food banks struggling to feed the hungry due to inflation and supply chain issues

U.S. food banks struggling to feed the hungry betwixt inflation and supply chain issues{ }(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. food banks struggling to feed the hungry betwixt inflation and supply chain issues (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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United States food banks are struggling to feed the hungry as hundreds in need line up at their doors in the midst of surging prices and supply chain issues in multiple locations nationwide, according to several sources.

The Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland is spending an extra $60,000 on food and is giving out $1 million a month to distribute 4.5 million pounds of food, according to the Associated Press and Michael Altfest, the Oakland food bank’s director of community engagement.

Every Wednesday hundreds of people line up at a church in Oakland called Shiloh Mercy House, which feeds roughly 300 families on those days.

“And a lot of people are just saying they can’t afford food,” Jason Bautista, the House's event manager, told the Associated Press. “I mean they have the money to buy certain things, but it’s just not stretching.”

There is also speculation that Thanksgiving 2021 may be the most expensive in history due to inflationary prices, according to The National Desk.

Other food banks have been facing staffing shortages, contributing to the backup in supply delivery. One of the banks experiencing a staffing shortage is Waymakers Foundation, which serves 240 families every week, according to NBC12.

Natasha Lemus, the executive director of the foundation, told NBC12 the group had to halt its pandemic delivery program, stating a lot of the families they serve don't have transportation.

“Unfortunately, just last week, I had to make a call to stop. Gas prices have gone up, and we went short-staffed because of funding. We don’t have enough volunteers to cover that," Lemus told NBC12.

In Orange County, Florida, Chip Hanna, the executive director of Servant’s Heart Ministry in Pine Castle, says he and his staff prepare boxes of food for 200 families per week. That is 50 boxes fewer than their pandemic high, but still double the number they were serving in 2019, according to WFTV9abc.

“It’s a different kind need than it was in the past,” Hanna told WFTV9abc. “Now, we’re hearing situations where, hey, my rent has gone up by hundreds of dollars, we no longer can afford even live in this apartment, much less buy food.”

Consumer prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs have gone up 10.5 percent since around this same time last year, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

An estimated 30 million U.S. households face food insecurity, despite recently expanded government assistance such as extended unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, according to an article published this year by The Living New Deal.

Donations of food to these banks are down as well, even though the number of people seeking help remains elevated, according to The New York Times.

These charitable organizations are also struggling with rising costs, pulling more expensive items, like beef, from the shelves. Robin Mueller, a disabled 52-year-old mom and wife in Indianapolis, told the Times she used to be able to make hamburgers twice a week and can now only afford to make them once a month.

"You have to pick and choose,” Mueller said. “Before, you didn’t have to do that. You could just go in and buy a week or two’s worth of food. Now I can barely buy a week’s worth.”

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