Inflation hits food banks when needed

LIMA — Despite rising needs after the expiration of child tax credits and rising food, gas and shelter costs, food banks are buying less food due to inflation.

Continuing supply shortages, delays in shipments, and rising prices, reflecting grocery store trends, make it difficult for food banks to keep their shelves in stock. However, this problem arises at a particularly difficult time for families, as inflation surged to 7.5% annually in January.

The Ohio Food Bank Association, which buys food in bulk for Ohio’s food pantry, has increased food costs by 18.4% over the past six months and reduced the amount of food it buys. According to the association, donations from individuals, businesses and other groups have declined or leveled off, but federal goods have not made up for the loss.

CEO Tommy Harner said West Ohio Food Bank recently canceled an order for canned chicken after a price increase of $ 10,000 in the two weeks it took to confirm the order.

Food banks may have had to throw away spoiled produce that arrived too late due to delays in transportation, Harner said.

According to the Ohio Food Bank Association, competition from discount grocery stores and courier services makes it difficult for food banks to purchase incomplete produce or products below Grade A.

Food banks are usually in high demand during the winter months due to expensive gas and electricity bills. However, the combination of inflation and the expiration of child tax credits has brought monthly income to 1.2 million Ohio families, making more families dependent on food rations.

“Everyone needs to adapt to it,” Harner said.

Rising prices will hurt low- and middle-income households

Brandon Miller, a professor of economics at Northwestern Ohio University, said the average American lost 2% to 3% of purchasing power last year as wage increases were curbed by an annual inflation rate of 7.5%. ..

According to Miller, the burden on low- and middle-income households who do not have assets that can be valued during inflation is the greatest.

Miller explained this issue in three parts. The economy is circulating more dollars than ever before, causing demand shocks as people spend more and businesses can raise prices.

However, the economy is also experiencing supply shocks due to supply chain disruptions and tight labor markets, resulting in higher wages and input costs, from fertilizers to packaging and shipping. According to Miller, these costs spill over into the supply chain, so companies raise prices to stay profitable.

According to Miller, the Federal Reserve has maintained low interest rates since the Great Recession, allowing people and businesses to borrow more.

“Increasing demand and reducing supply will result in the highest inflation in 40 years,” Miller said.

Still, if the Federal Reserve fulfills its promise to start raising rates in March, Miller said inflation could begin to slow.

Save money in an era of inflation

January consumer price index estimates show that food costs have risen by an estimated 7% over the last 12 months. These price fluctuations are not evenly distributed. Bread costs rose 5.9% in 12 months, while meat prices rose 13.6%.

Jami Delifield, a family and consumer science educator at The Ohio State University Expansion Bureau in Hardin County, said:

Dellifield usually tells clients to start with budget and meal planning to reduce impulse purchases and trips to convenience stores, where goods tend to be more expensive.

But food budgets alone can’t make up for the high prices, so Dellifield suggests creativity. Buy eggs from a friend. Find farmers or small stores that buy produce directly. Compare prices before you buy. Look for a coupon. Freeze the leftovers and plan a meal that can last for several days.Find cheaper recipes Switch to frozen produce. Invest in kitchen appliances that can save you money later.

“Fresh things are great, but you still get the same nutrients from frozen strawberries as fresh strawberries,” Delifield said.

She added: “This is a good opportunity for us as a community to get together and think about what we can do to help each other. What is the excess that can help others?”

Steven Rakes, distribution coordinator at West Ohio Food Bank, loads potatoes into the trunk of Lima’s food bank on Thursday morning.

Tommy Harner, CEO of West O’Hood Bank, has seen an increase in poor families visiting food banks since food prices began to rise. The needs of the elderly are particularly great.

Inflation hits food banks when needed

Source link Inflation hits food banks when needed

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