PEMBROKE PINES, Florida. – For food banks across the country right now, supply chain issues, rising fuel prices and inflation are preventing them from feeding people in need.
This is happening as they see more and more people coming forward for help.
“We strive every month to ensure that we get enough food to meet demand,” said Stephen Shelley, CEO of Farm Share.
Shelley said her food bank and others like her across the country are in critical need of support.
This is because right now they are seeing an increase in mouths to feed and a dwindling supply.
“Our families continue to be impacted after blow after blow,” said Paco Velez, president and CEO of Feeding South Florida.
Velez said rising fuel costs and inflation rates have stretched families, but it has also made sourcing supplies to feed those families even more expensive.
“Our diesel fuel costs over $6 a gallon. We have to truck products from across the country. These donations coming in are now 2, 3, 4 times more expensive,” he said.
Then you add the ongoing supply chain issues, which means grocery stores are struggling to keep food on their own shelves, so donations to food banks have dwindled. It all comes down to the families who are in desperate need of help.
“Their dollars don’t stretch as far as they used to, so now they come to us to access these items,” Velez said.
Food banks said they saw a brief drop in the number of incoming families when people started returning to work, but now the numbers are rising again.
“We’re close to that tipping point from now on that we really need help to make sure we have the resources we need to move forward,” Shelley said.
They need help from the federal government and donors to meet their needs.
“At the height of the pandemic, we were transporting around 12 million pounds of food per month. It went down to around £6m at one point and now we’re back to over £8m a month,” Shelley said. “Local grocery stores don’t even have enough on their shelves to feed the people who come there, let alone have the excess to donate to food banks.”
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