Increases in Food Prices Could Mean More People Seeking Help from Food Banks, Food Pantries and Other Meal Programs
The U.S. Department of Labor’s latest Consumer Price Index report shows that the food-at-home index, a measure of price changes at the grocery store, increased more than 12 percent for the year since October. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased over that span, including a nearly 17% increase for uncooked poultry other than chicken, which includes turkey. As Americans face higher costs for food, Feeding America, the nationwide network of food banks and food pantries, has seen an increase in people relying on food banks to make ends meet. Over 53 million people relied on charitable food assistance to help put food on the table last year. For the months that Feeding America survey data was available, a majority of food banks have reported steady or increased demand since June 2021.
“Higher food prices have shocked the budgets of families, seniors and people already struggling to make ends meet. The impact of these higher prices is especially felt with the holidays right around the corner,” said Katie Fitzgerald, president and COO of Feeding America. “High prices will continue to drive more and more of our neighbors to food banks and food pantries as we enter the winter season. The problem we’ve seen this year is food banks are also struggling with higher food prices as more and more people need their help each month.”
The latest Feeding America food bank pulse survey finds that the majority of member food banks, 60% in all, reported an increase in demand for emergency food assistance in August compared to the previous month. The survey was fielded in September and was completed by 170 out of 200 food banks in the Feeding America nationwide network. Nearly all responding food banks, 90%, reported seeing increased or steady demand for services amid record food price increases.
“As families come together this Thanksgiving, there will be millions unable to put food on their table,” Fitzgerald continued. “Thanksgiving meal staples, like turkeys, can be cost-prohibitive. Food banks are anticipating higher demand and working hard to provide alternatives where they can. We need everyone to be a part of overcoming these challenges; the government, private sector, food donors and folks who can contribute and raise awareness about this solvable but difficult problem.”
Feeding America is inviting the U.S public, food industry partners and Congress to join Feeling America to help fill plates and hearts this Thanksgiving. Individuals, donors and advocates can continue to support Feeding America and local hunger-relief organizations by volunteering, donating food or funds, and calling on elected officials to support strong nutrition program legislation. Food industry partners can reach out to Feeding America or local food banks to explore avenues for donation and food rescue. Lastly, Congress can do its part by fully funding The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and other critically important federal nutrition programs in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill, and by strengthening critical anti-hunger programs in the 2023 Farm Bill.
Earlier this year, Feeding America put forth a call to action for the nation to help realize a vision of an America where no one is hungry. Specifically, Feeding America invites others to join in the movement to end hunger by cutting racial and geographic disparities in food security in half and reducing food insecurity in the United States to 5% by 2030. For more information about Feeding America’s hunger-relief efforts and to learn how to help, visit FeedingAmerica.org.
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.