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Inflated prices limit food pantry donations, Salvation Army struggles

The food pantry at Little Rock's Salvation Army has been sitting empty, as rising inflation has left less space for many people to donate to others.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As prices continue to soar, people everywhere are working to stretch their money as far as they can— sometimes leaving less space for donating to others.

It's a problem that the Salvation Army of Central Arkansas has seen as they field hundreds of calls for aid each week while their pantry sits empty.

Genni Vega, a caseworker at the Salvation Army in Little Rock, said that right now they're managing an increased demand on top of a donation shortage.

"We get about like 250 calls a week. We help about... 80 families every week, but not this week, unfortunately," she said.

As inflated prices continue to stick around, Vega said that it leaves less room in many Arkansans' budget to help out— which has left the shelves emptier than she's ever seen.

"Everywhere is low, even the food bank is low sometimes. So that's where we get our food from, and even they're low," Vega said.

Staff at the Salvation Army said that they are currently working to create more immediate food supply partnerships, but are worried that shortages could persist through the winter.

According to Area Commander Major Bill Mockabee, the local Salvation Army hope to expand shelter availability and better fill their pantry shelves before the holidays.

"We're really concerned with the economy right now," Mockabee said, "The demand usually goes way up in the holidays, as people are making that decision of-- 'do I buy presents and gifts for my kids? Or, you know, do I go somewhere for help to help supplement our food?'."

Those concerns are part of the reason why the team started their holiday fundraising plans back in June and will be launching their Angel Tree gift program online this week.

"We have 934 families, and that represents 2400 actual angels this year...all the Angel Tree gifts go directly to that family," Mockabee added.

The Salvation Army has now asked for the public's help in their efforts to help the public— a call that Vega hoped will be answered.

"I hate telling people that we can't help them... and we give them other resources, but I know that what we provide is good. So that's why I want to keep giving [people] what we give to them," Vega added.

And even as area command prepares their food pantry for the holidays, they are already preparing their red kettlebell ringers to try and get ahead of the holiday season.

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