GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Inflation has created a situation where food pantries across the Piedmont-Triad face the perfect storm of the need for supply being grossly under the demand for it, especially with food.
Triad food pantries have seen a decrease in donations and supplies being distributed to them, while they deal with an ever-growing number of families who need help to put food on the table.
A handful of food pantry directors and employees FOX8 spoke with on Tuesday explained that the demand for food assistance has increased around 20% in the past several weeks. It’s a number that is also on top of the 40% increase seen two years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We typically serve 80 households a day. Now, we’re up over 100 every day. A lot of new households…last month, we served 153 new households,” Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Pantry Director Mary O’Neill said.
In July of 2021, the food pantry location in Greensboro, along West Gate City Boulevard, had around 175,000 pounds of food on hand.
In July of 2022, that number had dwindled to 20,000 pounds of food to feed 100 families each day for the next 14 days.
“We have never been this low on food before, and I’ve worked here for 6 years,” O’Neill said.
Macedonia Family Resource Center’s Food Bank Director Lauryn Dowd, said their food pantry supply, currently can last another month.
“We still do get donations, but we don’t get as many donations as before…but then when school comes back around,…we’re going to definitely need stuff by then,” she said.
She also told FOX8 that the donation dip is being felt at distribution centers that food pantries also rely on.
CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston-Salem Eric Aft said that the struggles are felt but not at heavily everywhere.
“It is difficult to source a lot of food at the moment. But we are doing our best to get as much food in here so we can get it back out to those that are facing challenges in the community,” he said.
The demographic of those in need of food has also changed.
Urban Ministry reports that more college students, veterans, couples and parents who work full-time jobs are seeking out help from food pantries.
“A lot of it is people working full-time jobs but just struggle to make ends meet. It’s expensive right now to put food on the table for your family,” O’Neill said.
Food pantries need frozen/canned meat products, eggs, milk and breakfast foods the most.
Donations can be made in person or online at your local food bank.