Food prices are hurting food stores

Food prices are hurting food stores

Mary Richard, host: It’s Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

You are listening to Radio WORLD and we are excited to have you join us today! Good morning, I’m Mary Richard.

Nick Escher, Host: And I’m Nick Escher. first up The world and everything in it: food and inflation.

High food prices hurt everyone, including food stores. One in six Americans depends on charity food. But rising operating costs and supply chain problems make it difficult for food stores to meet the growing demand.

Addie Offereins reports the world.

My voice: [SUSAN DESCRIBING INVENTORY]

Additional Speaker, Reporter: Susan Schafer spends a lot of her time checking the inventory of the Reveal Resources Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Schaefer began as executive director of the food pantry last year, after six years of volunteer work.

The pantry is open Monday nights from 7 to 8 and Tuesday mornings from 9 to noon. Bright orange cones guide cars through the church parking lot. Volunteers fill cartons with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, and bags of dry goods. They load food onto green carts and into the luggage compartment or back seat.

Schaffer: If you come here on a Monday night, the line actually goes to 183 from the top of the hill to 183. Because of the current food crisis we’re in.

Once customers pass traffic, Schaeffer takes time to talk to them before they pick up their food.

Schaffer: They have to make a decision about buying medical supplies, you know, paying doctor bills or paying rent or buying food.

The number of people in need has increased since 2020.

Schaffer: So before we served, like, 75, on Monday night, now we’re at 240 on Monday night.

The pantry gets the food that is about to expire at the local stores. You also receive donations from private food campaigns or from someone’s personal food pantry. The department orders some items from the Central Texas Food Bank.

Schaffer: So when we first started, there are four sheets of food for you to choose from. Now it is one sheet of food that you can choose from. Our numbers are so astronomical that we ran out of food and had to buy food to give it to people…

The pantry hasn’t seen tomato sauce in a while due to supply chain issues. Last month, the center ran out of black beans—a staple in dry goods bags.

Schaffer: That was about $2,000 we had to spend. Now, as a matter of fact, the next board meeting, we’re going to talk about maybe cutting back on what we offer clients.

Central Texas Food Bank partners with approximately 250 smallest Organizations, including Reveal (food pantry). Together, they serve 21 counties and feed more than 400,000 food-insecure people.

Sari Vatsky is the President and CEO.

Value Added Tax: Supply chain issues certainly affect the organization, in the same way that the global supply chain affects grocers, retailers and consumers. There are longer waiting times even if we buy food

Not only that, as more people order groceries online, stores manage their inventories more efficiently. This means fewer donations to food banks.

My voice: [FOOD PANTRY]

At the same time, food stores noticed a new crowd appearing in line. Last year, the federal government expanded SNAP, the supplemental nutrition program. But many new pantry visitors earn too much money to qualify or are not interested in the federal program. Again Susan Schaeffer:

Schaefer: They make enough money. Then with increased gas and increased food? They just can’t buy everything anymore.

Director Hallie Calabro noticed a similar trend at St. Augustine Wellston Center, another food pantry in St. Louis, MO.

Calabro: Certainly some families who never thought they would have used a pantry before we really tried to break the stigma of using it. We are there if you need it.

She saw numbers jump during the pandemic. After that, the number of families stabilized to about 600 per month, and more families arrived as inflation worsened. Last month they served about 700 individuals. A month ago? Nearly 900. High prices make it difficult to meet demand.

CALABRO: We’ll be buying groceries, so at least $7,000 a month and two months ago we spent $17,000

Some human rights advocates argue that the government should relieve pressure on food pantries by expanding SNAP benefits. Scott Centorino is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability. He says the solution is not more government spending, but more work.

Centorino: Clearly the best thing that can happen to help families dealing with food insecurity, which is real for many people, is to bring down inflation, and any increase in public assistance is counterproductive to that effort.

Instead, he argues, organizations should help individuals take advantage of a tight labor market by working more hours in higher-paying jobs.

This is what Kevin Peyton is trying to do in South Lebanon, Ohio. His organization, Joshua’s Place, converted her food pantry into a cooperative. It does more than just distribute food. Members pay $5 each time they come in, and are asked to meet with a mentor.

Peyton: And the third thing is that you take at least one developmental course throughout that year of membership. So we offer lessons on faith and finance, health and wellness, and parenting lessons. We talk about symptoms and sources. Lack of food is a symptom, and sources are a much deeper issue.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Addie Offereins.

Mary Richard, host: It’s Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

You are listening to Radio WORLD and we are excited to have you join us today! Good morning, I’m Mary Richard.

Nick Escher, Host: And I’m Nick Escher. first up The world and everything in it: food and inflation.

High food prices hurt everyone, including food stores. One in six Americans depends on charity food. But rising operating costs and supply chain problems make it difficult for food stores to meet the growing demand.

Addie Offereins reports the world.

My voice: [SUSAN DESCRIBING INVENTORY]

Additional Speaker, Reporter: Susan Schafer spends a lot of her time checking the inventory of the Reveal Resources Center in Cedar Park, Texas. Schaefer began as executive director of the food pantry last year, after six years of volunteer work.

The pantry is open Monday nights from 7 to 8 and Tuesday mornings from 9 to noon. Bright orange cones guide cars through the church parking lot. Volunteers fill cartons with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, and bags of dry goods. They load food onto green carts and into the luggage compartment or back seat.

Schaffer: If you come here on a Monday night, the line actually goes to 183 from the top of the hill to 183. Because of the current food crisis we’re in.

Once customers pass traffic, Schaeffer takes time to talk to them before they pick up their food.

Schaffer: They have to make a decision about buying medical supplies, you know, paying doctor bills or paying rent or buying food.

The number of people in need has increased since 2020.

Schaffer: So before we served, like, 75, on Monday night, now we’re at 240 on Monday night.

The pantry gets the food that is about to expire at the local stores. You also receive donations from private food campaigns or from someone’s personal food pantry. The department orders some items from the Central Texas Food Bank.

Schaffer: So when we first started, there are four sheets of food for you to choose from. Now it is one sheet of food that you can choose from. Our numbers are so astronomical that we ran out of food and had to buy food to give it to people…

The pantry hasn’t seen tomato sauce in a while due to supply chain issues. Last month, the center ran out of black beans—a staple in dry goods bags.

Schaffer: That was about $2,000 we had to spend. Now, as a matter of fact, the next board meeting, we’re going to talk about maybe cutting back on what we offer clients.

The Central Texas Food Bank partners with about 250 smallest Organizations, including Reveal (food pantry). Together, they serve 21 counties and feed more than 400,000 food-insecure people.

Sari Vatsky is the President and CEO.

Value Added Tax: Supply chain issues certainly affect the organization, in the same way that the global supply chain affects grocers, retailers and consumers. There are longer waiting times even if we buy food

Not only that, as more people order groceries online, stores manage their inventories more efficiently. This means fewer donations to food banks.

My voice: [FOOD PANTRY]

At the same time, food stores noticed a new crowd appearing in line. Last year, the federal government expanded SNAP, the supplemental nutrition program. But many new pantry visitors earn too much money to qualify or are not interested in the federal program. Again Susan Schaeffer:

Schaefer: They make enough money. Then with increased gas and increased food? They just can’t buy everything anymore.

Director Hallie Calabro noticed a similar trend at St. Augustine Wellston Center, another food pantry in St. Louis, MO.

Calabro: Certainly some families who never thought they would have used a pantry before we really tried to break the stigma of using it. We are there if you need it.

She saw numbers jump during the pandemic. After that, the number of families stabilized to about 600 per month, and more families arrived as inflation worsened. Last month they served about 700 individuals. A month ago? Nearly 900. High prices make it difficult to meet demand.

CALABRO: We’ll be buying groceries, so at least $7,000 a month and two months ago we spent $17,000

Some human rights advocates argue that the government should relieve pressure on food pantries by expanding SNAP benefits. Scott Centorino is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability. He says the solution is not more government spending, but more work.

Centorino: Clearly the best thing that can happen to help families dealing with food insecurity, which is real for many people, is to bring down inflation, and any increase in public assistance is counterproductive to that effort.

Instead, he argues, organizations should help individuals take advantage of a tight labor market by working more hours in higher-paying jobs.

This is what Kevin Peyton is trying to do in South Lebanon, Ohio. His organization, Joshua’s Place, converted her food pantry into a cooperative. It does more than just distribute food. Members pay $5 each time they come in, and are asked to meet with a mentor.

Peyton: And the third thing is that you take at least one developmental course throughout that year of membership. So we offer lessons on faith and finance, health and wellness, and parenting lessons. We talk about symptoms and sources. Lack of food is a symptom, and sources are a much deeper issue.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Addie Offereins.


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