WASHINGTON– Heads of food banks and non-profits throughout the United States say they are struggling to keep up with demand as the cost of groceries, fuel prices and other goods are leading first time recipients, many identified as middle class, to turn to these resources for help.
“Lines are getting longer at food pantries. Demand for food assistance is growing. And that is certainly putting a strain on the emergency food system,” Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A report published last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that with inflation rates at a 40-year high, middle and working class Americans are struggling to survive.
Matt Pieper, the executive director of the food nonprofit Open Hand Atlanta, and Board president of Georgia Meals on Wheels State Association told the Constitution that the number of calls he gets in a day from people who are seeking food assistance has nearly tripled.
“There isn’t a program that I’ve talked with throughout the state that isn’t seeing an increase in demand for services, as inflation has skyrocketed and as the cost of fuel has skyrocketed,” said Pieper, whose organization provides about 5,500 meals a day.
“We’re feeding more seniors than we ever have before, because more seniors are accessing services because they’re running out of money,” he said.
According to the report published by the BLS, more than 18 million Americans sometimes didn’t have enough to eat last month and more than 5 million people often went hungry.
In May, food prices were 11.9% higher than in May of 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The government’s consumer price index soared 9.1% over the past year, the biggest yearly increase since 1981, with nearly half of the increase due to higher energy costs.