x
Breaking News
More () »

Arkansas food banks see higher demand due to inflation

Many are having to reach out for help for the first time and Arkansas food charities said it's getting harder and harder to help.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Inflation is impacting every single one of us, but the people with the least ability to cope are getting hit the hardest. 

Many are having to reach out for help for the first time and Arkansas food charities said it's getting harder and harder to help.

Empty shelves are becoming more prevalent at the Arkansas Foodbank right now. 

Eric Shelby, Chief Operating Officer, said there's a lot more going out than coming in.

"I would say we're in a little bit of uncharted territory right now," he said.

While prices continue to rise on nearly everything at the grocery store more Arkansans are turning to the food bank for help, but according to Shelby, it's getting harder to keep up.

"We've got a lot more food going out the door and a lot more need in the communities than we're able to source, right now," he said.

Shelby said their food supply is lower than it was pre-pandemic. 

The non-profit is turning over their whole warehouse in about five weeks.

"I think we're starting to have some serious concerns about our inventory levels and what we can offer the pantries. It's been many years since we've been able to offer this little food to our pantries," he said.

Soaring oil prices are only making it worse. According to Shelby, their fuel bills have gone up 50%.

"That 5.50 a gallon for diesel and fuel is affecting every truckload of food that we get in here at the food bank. It's very expensive," he said.

Other charities across Arkansas are also feeling the pinch.

"In March we were distributing about 170, some odd meals a day, and then in April we were up to about 230, 250 a day," Jasmine Zandi said.

She runs the 'Be Mighty' program at CALS.

They feed hot meals to kids after school and during the summer months and, according to Zandi, they're already seeing more demand.

"Just over these past few months we have seen an increase just gradually over time, so we can expect a good bit of distribution over the summer," she said. 

For CALS, Zandi said the bottleneck isn't supply, but manpower. 

"This summer, not all of our branches are going to have the capacity to do breakfast and lunch, so that'll reach much fewer people than in years prior," she said.

The Arkansas Foodbank can use any and all donations, whether it's money or food. You can easily donate here.

You can find all the 'Be Mighty' program locations here

Paid Advertisement