Food banks face rising food costs, supply chain issues as demand stays steady

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:45 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:44 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As food banks around the country prepare to help families this holiday season, they’re also facing challenges with rising food prices and supply chain disruptions.

This also includes food banks in Richmond, such as Feed More.

Christy Dalton, community events manager for Feed More, estimates around 165,000 people in Central Virginia face food insecurity.

Feed More is also projecting this demand to be up 15 percent in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic times in 2019.

“We have seen a tremendous increase in the need for food,” Dalton said.

This year, Feed More said it’s on track to distribute around 35 million pounds of food to help families put a meal on their tables.

With the increasing demand for help comes the effects of the supply chain issues and a hike in food costs.

“We are starting to feel the impact of those additional costs and the supply chain issues that are impacting everyone,” Dalton said. “We’ve said $1 helps us provide four meals, and we’re able to purchase food items in bulk from suppliers, and it’s getting harder and harder to do that.”

Dalton said they’re getting creative to cut the costs.

“We’re actually having to send our drivers further and further away to get food to be able to get it here in a more costly manner,” she said. “Everything is costing a little more like it is at home.”

Feed More works with their partner agencies to distribute these items, including the Waymakers Foundation off Hull Street in Chesterfield.

Natasha Lemus, executive director of the Waymakers Foundation, is also feeling these impacts.

“For the past six months, we have noticed a hike on food prices,” she said. “Shipping and freight is higher than what we’re able to afford.”

Waymakers Foundation serves 240 families every week. At this time, Lemus said they’ve had to stop their COVID delivery program to those without transportation due to rising gas prices and their staffing shortage.

“A lot of the families we serve don’t have transportation,” Lemus said. “Unfortunately, just last week, I had to make a call to stop. Gas prices have gone up, and we went short-staffed because of funding. We don’t have enough volunteers to cover that.”

Lemus needs delivery cars and volunteers who can deliver meals to families in need. The organization is also in need of monetary donations to help them fulfill their orders.

For more information about Waymakers Foundation, click here.

Feed More is also asking the community for food donations and volunteers. People can drop off donations for Feed More at their community donation door. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 8-4 p.m. This is located on Feed More’s main campus at 1601 Rhoadmiller Street in Richmond.

Feed More needs non-perishable items, including canned soup and veggies, pasta, sauce, peanut butter and breakfast items. For more information about Feed More, click here.

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