How Inflation Is Hurting Already-Strained Food Banks

Inflation affects every aspect of life, and anyone who has hit up a grocery store has witnessed this price fluctuation in action. According to USA Today, rising food prices mean that shoppers have to make tough choices when it comes to what to buy, and many opt for cheaper, less healthy options when they hit the grocery store. An increase in food costs extends far beyond America, too. Food prices also continue to climb across the world, and as a result, more and more populations face food insecurity due to scarcity and new food deserts, with no area able to completely escape the problem (via American University). Inflation may make restaurants seem worse now, too.

Some folks are trying to stave off the effects of food insecurity. NPR reports that one food support group in Alabama started off servicing children and families in need, but they have started to encounter problems due to rising food prices. Traditionally, the group collects food from grocery stores that are approaching their expiration dates, but have started to encounter problems collecting produce and have had issues delivering balanced meals to those in need. An increase in food prices also mirrors higher rents, prices of gas, and much more, putting many families in particularly precarious situations. While the Alabama charity continues to provide what they can, food banks around the nation face a similar crisis.

A looming food crisis faces the U.S. — and the world

Food banks and support groups across the country have now had issues collecting resources due to high costs. CNN reports that inflation has mixed with supply chain issues to create a perfect storm that now has hampered charities designed at feeding those in need. Food banks associated with Feeding America reported that they saw a 65% increase in traffic in March 2022 when compared to February, and those numbers aren't relenting. Food banks across the board now see double the traffic that they did back in December. As noted by the Tampa Bay Times, the eponymous Florida region is just one such location struggling.

The price of food has increased by 10%, and as a result, charities now have to pay about 40% more for supplies than they did in 2021. These changes have strained an integral system and put a huge number of families and households in a very precarious situation. Volunteers have had to find new and creative ways to scrounge for food to collect for the charities, but for now, supplies look to be dwindling as a result of higher inflation. Only time will tell if these numbers will even out, though folks can always donate food. They must simply keep in mind which foods should and should never be donated to food banks.