EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Everywhere you look, prices continue to rise. The weekly trips to the grocery store are slowly draining wallets as inflation goes up.
“You see the prices of gas, you see the price every every time you walk into the grocery store,” said Ed Kersey of Henderson. “They say it’s 18% higher, I’m seeing more like 40% higher. Oh, easily [my grocery bill] would be say about $150, it’s going up easy to $300. It’s doubled.”
The increase in prices is now causing more and more people to rely on a trip to a local food pantry instead.
Karen Dunlap, the outreach organizer at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, said the need has increased by double since last year. And as prices on the shelves increase, many people are seeing their monthly income decrease.
“We’re seeing a rise in the number of people about 25% who are going to the pantries and soup kitchens, again because of inflation also because of their SNAP benefits, their EDP SNAP benefits from the pandemic have expired in July,” said Glenn Roberts of the Tri-State Food Bank.
However, food banks and pantries are seeing fewer donations from the public and from manufacturers.
Dunlap added, “The supply is going down. There have been weeks when you look in the room and it’s almost bare and it’s like ugh, yikes, families are going to be a little hungrier this week.”
The food banks are now spending more of their own money to keep up. Generally the Tri-State Food Bank relies on a government assistance program to account for nearly one third of its supply, but now those resources are being cut in half.
“That’s probably an untold story as the government food that we’re getting – that we normally rely on and especially relied on during the pandemic – we’re getting a lot less of right now and we have to supplement that fill that gap by purchasing food,” added Roberts.
The need is a vicious cycle. Food banks are needing more donations, but everyone is affected by inflation and may not be able to donate like they once were.
“They don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring,” added Kersey. “And everything that we’re seeing is that the cost of food is going up and we know that this will this will still stay with us for at least another two years.”
The local food banks and pantries are always looking for more donations, both as non-perishable food items and monetary contributions. The Tri-State Food Bank is also looking for more volunteers.