EG Food Bank struggling to stock its shelves during inflation troubles | News

Elk Grove Food Bank Executive Director Marie Jachino told the Citizen this week that the food bank is just one month away from having to buy its own food.

“We’re going to have to start paying for the food,” he said. “We don’t get as many donations from grocery stores, we don’t get the donations we have in the past.”

Jachino added that the food bank’s decline in donations is even more of a challenge for this non-profit organization due to the rapid increase in the number of new clients.

“We are struggling to meet demand and have long queues throughout the day,” he said. “At the end of last week we were running out of food. We are seeing 100 households a day and that does not include all the people in the households. We usually (used to) see 30 people a day. We are breaking records like never before, and these are people from all walks of life”.

Jachino noted that because of economic inflation and other factors that have left food bank shelves empty or with less food, the number of new food bank clients will grow significantly.

“It’s inevitable with inflation, and I don’t anticipate it going away anytime soon,” he said. “I think they downplay the (expected) recession, but we’re seeing a recession right now in the food bank. The numbers are staggering. I really refer to it as a hunger crisis, because I’ve never seen it like that before.”

Among the products Jachino is concerned about is meat.

“Meat prices are really exorbitant, and people rely on meat for protein,” he said. “But everything (in grocery stores) went up at least $1 across the board. And then produce prices, dairy products.”

Other factors affecting the food bank are the rising costs of housing, gas and utilities, Jachino noted.

“Gas and rent (costs are high) and many of our customers have been notified that their rent will increase now that the (rent) moratorium is off,” he said. “And any kind of expense in a home has gone up. Utilities, just everything has gone up. People are struggling to make ends meet, and that’s not an understatement.”

While the elderly, homeless and unemployed continue to struggle, the food bank has also seen an increase in the number of employed people it serves as a result of inflation.

“It’s a really sad situation that we’re all dealing with right now,” Jachino said. “I just think this is going to continue for years to come.”

Valerie Erwin, community outreach officer, talked about the sudden increase in new food bank clients due to inflation.

“Before May, we averaged just over 10,000 food customers a month,” he said. “Just in the last two months we’ve gone over 13,000 a month. So (inflation) has had a horrendous impact on what we’re doing.”

Erwin added that this increase in food bank clients is a bigger concern than the large increase the food bank experienced with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I think is really scary is that we saw this huge increase during COVID (-19), but there were safety nets,” he said. “There was unemployment insurance for people who were staying out of work, there were stimulus checks, and there were rent moratoriums and eviction moratoriums. We don’t have any of those guarantees right now.”

Erwin mentioned that he thought the worst of the increase in new food bank clients would be during the early part of the pandemic, but that current inflation has proven him wrong.

“The last big monster with COVID (-19) felt like we all got it,” he said. “We were all rowing in the same direction. I certainly can’t imagine how I would have navigated this when I had a young family and when I was early in my career. I feel a little terrible.”

Erwin also commented on rising fuel costs at gas stations and noted that relief likely won’t reach consumers for months.

“There’s going to be some relief, at least in the state of California, but we probably won’t see it until October or November,” he said. “You can’t keep a promise for a few hundred dollars until then.”

The price shock at grocery stores is a common experience for Erwin, he noted.

“A can of soup was $4.19 (during one of his recent grocery store visits),” he said. “(The same soup cost) 99 cents a year ago.”

Joe Guerrero, a nine-year volunteer at the food bank, told the Citizen that adding to the food bank’s struggles is a recent increase in the number of refugees being served by the nonprofit.

“The numbers are growing,” he said. “I mean it’s like one after the other. We just had four, four different families come in today and none of them spoke English. (Over a recent two-day period), we had a total of 15. That’s a lot of stuff just for two days

With the food bank’s current challenges, Jachino asked the community for additional help.

“We need more funding,” he said. “We’re worried about how we’re going to keep up with the demand. It’s a big concern when you’re a non-profit organization and you’re dependent on donations. I think this is a good time to let people know there’s a hunger crisis. (People can give) donations; monetary, food, do a food drive.”

To provide assistance to the Elk Grove Food Bank, call (916) 685-8453 or visit the website, www.ElkGroveFoodBank.org.

EG Food Bank struggling to stock its shelves during inflation troubles | News Source link EG Food Bank struggling to stock its shelves during inflation troubles | News

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