Nearly half of America’s food banks describe a rising number of people lining up for handouts as inflation pushes pantry essentials out of reach and the Biden administration’s eight-year anti-hunger plan falters.
Households across the US told DailyMail.com that overwhelming prices at grocery stores had driven them to stockpile groceries for help. Even food bank organizers said inflation is driving up costs and hampering their ability to help.
Inflation’s 40-year high of 9.1 percent has pushed the basics from butter to beefsteak beyond the reach of many and undermined President Joe Biden’s aspiration to end hunger and improve diet and physical activity levels in the US by 2030 .
Pat Young, 64, a retired home health worker, turned to St. John’s Bread and Life Program in Brooklyn, New York, this month when inflation pushed the pantry’s basics beyond their annual disability income budget of less than $30,000 a year .
“It’s really become a challenge to eat healthy and make ends meet,” Young told DailyMail.com.
For Young, weekly packets of milk, juice, corn, turkey, canned fruit, beans and rice are a godsend. Yet, due to high energy bills, they sit at home in the dark without air conditioning in the summer heat and miss their favorite fruity treat – cherries.
US President Joe Biden visited a plaque in Houston, Texas in February. The White House wants to end hunger across the country by 2030, but runaway inflation of 9.1% is leaving more and more people in need of handouts to make ends meet
“You’d be surprised how many more people are eligible to use the pantry,” Young said. “Because the economy is so bad, even many professionals fit into the low socioeconomic class.”
She is not alone. Feeding America, a national charity, says 45 percent of food banks have seen demand surge in recent months of high inflation, typically with 10 percent more beneficiaries asking for help.
Pat Young, 64, a retired nurse, turned to a food bank when inflation pushed pantry basics beyond their budget
Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest, another New York food bank, said 90 percent of their recipients expected to rely more on handouts this year as inflation made even a dozen eggs more than a dollar more expensive.
“With food costs rising at the fastest pace in decades, we’re seeing many families who were already struggling to survive are now increasingly relying on food supplies,” Stephens told DailyMail.com.
Ginette Bott, president of the Utah Food Bank, said inflation is having an impact just as severe as the Covid-19 pandemic and has “put even more strain on our customers’ budgets.”
A 60 percent increase in gasoline prices nationwide has doubled her organization’s fuel costs and “effectively squeezes both sides of the emergency relief equation,” she added.
The same is true in California, where Carolyn Solar, president of Feeding America Riverside San Bernardino, said her organization’s fuel bills have increased from $17,664 in 2021 to $34,460 this year.
In the face of inflation, 21 percent of Americans have turned to grocery banks this month, according to a survey by Tipp Insights this month. About half of those surveyed switched to cheaper private labels and avoided expensive items such as meat.
Almost a quarter simply skipped meals altogether.
According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, in the U.S. aren’t getting enough food to lead active, healthy lives — a 2020 figure many expect will still be the next update will rise.
The soaring food prices come after state governments ended Covid-19 disaster rules that increased benefits for some 40 million food stamp beneficiaries and after a Trump-era food purchase and distribution program concluded in 2021 became.
The Biden administration says it wants to end hunger by 2030 and improve nutrition and general health nationwide so fewer people develop diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases.
The White House did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on the growing demand for pantries.
A White House statement this month spoke of a “national strategy to end hunger” and fight disease, as well as plans for a Biden-hosted conference on hunger and nutrition to create a 50-year roadmap to address the problem to set.
Democrats are touting an anti-inflation tax reform and climate finance bill as a solution to high prices, but it remains unclear whether it will win enough Senate votes or lower inflation in the coming months.
DailyMail.com researched the prices of everyday items and calculated how much they would cost if inflation had stayed at the Federal Reserve’s target rate of 2 percent — not the runaway increases we’ve seen over the past year — to find out how much additional consumers are currently paying
Community volunteers sift through and sort produce at a food bank in Houston, Texas, earlier this year as food prices soared due to labor shortages, transportation issues and supply chain difficulties
US inflation rose to 9.1 percent in June, the highest since 1981 and better than economists had forecast