Area Food Banks Face Dual Challenges of Higher Costs, Inventory Shortages

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bags of carrots
Image via Monica Herndon, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Food distribution at Martha’s Choice Marketplace in Norristown.

Area food banks — and the residents who rely on them — are feeling twice pinched lately. Supply chain issues continue to disrupt their ability to maintain stocked shelves. And the items that are available have crawled up in price. Alfred Lubrano opened the cupboard on these challenges for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

People in poverty, already living lives of deprivation, are now being squeezed in new ways. In increasing numbers, they turn to food pantries for essentials, and yet those services struggle to keep shelves full in a manner economically sustainable for their clientele.

“Recently the cost of everything has gone up wildly, whether it’s food, transportation, labor — you name it,” said George Matysik, executive director of Share Food Program.

As a result, Philabundance, which supplies most of the around 900 food pantries in the Philadelphia area, has gone from budgeting $120,000 a month for food acquisition in fiscal 2020 to seven times that much — $850,000 a month — for fiscal year 2021.

And it has nearly doubled that to $1.6 million a month for the fiscal year 2022.

“We’re still operating in the challenging time of COVID, when people are still losing jobs and need food,” said Loree Jones, chief executive officer of Philabundance.

Read more about the challenges facing area food banks in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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