FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WFRV) – Due to inflation, food pantries are seeing lower-stocked shelves and people are in need of food now more than they have been in years.
“Everybody is being impacted by the price of groceries right now and that’s happening to our clients as well, so people who might have been managing to make it before are struggling now to make it and so we are seeing an increase this year of about 39% over last year,” said Monica Clare, the Executive Director of St. Joseph’s Food Program. “I anticipate those numbers will continue to rise.”
While the everyday shopper is paying more for food distribution as the prices rise at the grocery store, more are turning to food pantries for help but they are finding it hard to keep up. Monica Clare told Local Five’s Samantha Petters that they are serving about 700 families a week, which is almost twice as many families as it was two years ago.
“Food is a little harder to come by,” said Clare. “We plan on a certain distribution per family size and as those visits go up then obviously that is more food going out the door.”
Demand from clients has also dramatically increased for the last couple of years but food pantries aren’t the only ones seeing a decrease in inventory. Local food banks are also experiencing high demand and low supply.
“So we’re seeing actually something very similar,” said President and CEO of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. “Right now, what we’re seeing is a very strong increase in demand for charitable food resources from food pantries from our food bank. it’s what we’re hearing across the network, and it doesn’t matter where you’re located.”
Patti Habeck says they are continually trying to create ways to manage their food distribution. The hunger relief organization is currently working to get new programs up and running for those in need.
“Certain categories of food we might have to put some limits on, and sometimes that’s on things like proteins; it’s a lot harder for us to get donated protein right now,” said Habeck. “What we’re seeing right now is we are able to still get a lot of produce and move a lot of that.”
If you do have a need for food assistance, you can reach out to your closest food pantry or food bank. If you are able to help supply food pantries or food banks, you can go online to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin or St. Joseph’s Food Program to support.