Rising food prices affecting Mid-South food pantries

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Inflation in the U.S. continues to drive up the cost of food and other goods.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased 10.8% for the year ending April 2022, the largest 12-month increase since 1980.

High grocery bills, coupled with crippling gas prices, are leaving many Americans struggling.

Some are turning to food banks for help with meals, but rising costs are affecting those organizations, too.

Locally, the Mid-South Food Bank works to get thousands of meals to people in need.

Click here to donate to the Mid-South Food Bank.

On Wednesday, hundreds of families lined the streets outside Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Midtown to get fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, and more at a mobile food pantry.

One participant, Vernon Smith, said, “The food bank is the difference between eating and not eating for us. You know what inflation is and how that’s treating us.”

Food distribution has been held at the church twice a month since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mid-South Food Bank’s CEO Cathy Pope told FOX13 that just as families are feeling the effects of high food costs, the organizations that help them are, too.

Supply chain issues have also impacted distribution.

Purchasing and transportation costs for the Mid-South Food Bank have gone up by 30% and 35%, respectively, Pope said.

Pope said the company has changed some of its strategies but that she’s also seen an increase in donations.

She said the types of donations has also changed: more veggies, less milk, less meat.

People who receive the food said they don’t mind the menu change.

One person told FOX13, “Whatever they give, I’m thankful and I’m blessed to get it.”

Volunteer Jeremy Sykes said the mobile food pantry will be there ‘no matter what’ the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.

“It reminds you of why you’re here,” he said.

You can find a list of mobile food pantries here.