Food banks are struggling to provide relief to needy Americans as demand and costs simultaneously skyrocket, according to the head of Georgia’s largest food bank, who urged the government to provide more help.
“It’s a very humbling moment when you’re faced with someone who’s scared,” Kyle Waid, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, told Fox News. “They can’t feed their family. We see it every day.”
“They have to choose between buying food or paying their utility bill,” continued Waid. “Those kinds of choices keep families really connected.”
“It’s a perfect storm of high demand, high cost to operate, low federal support,” Waid said. “It’s really putting a lot of pressure on food banks, food pantries across the country.”
According to Waid, government aid to combat food insecurity is declining. Funding for federal programs such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program is returning to pre-pandemic levels that do not match current demand.
“We need [United States Department of Agriculture] And Wide said the administration and Congress should allocate more funds to federal commodity programs that provide food to food banks. “We need Washington, Congress, and the administration to find ways to provide more resources to the emergency food network. People can be fed during this crisis.”
According to Wide, demand at Atlanta’s community food bank decreased in 2021 after Georgians returned to work after pandemic shutdowns. But the pantry This year it has picked up again.
“We’re seeing people who are turning to food pantries for the first time in their lives,” Waid told Fox News. “The inflationary climate really put a lot of pressure on them.”
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“These are people who are used to being on the other side of the line, helping deliver food to people in need rather than being in line,” added Waid.
A food bank in Phoenix saw a 78% increase over last year, serving 4,000 families at their main distribution center in just one week in June. The Associated Press reported. And in Virginia, one pantry depleted its resources in 90 minutes one day in July, According to NBC News.
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“Meeting the growing demand has become more complex and expensive for us,” Waid said. “We’re spending more to get the same amount of food into our system.”
Rising food costs aren’t the only high cost facing food banks, according to an Atlanta CEO.
“We’re seeing higher fuel costs for our trucks on the road, higher costs for our employees as we respond to wage pressures that other businesses are responding to,” Wide told Fox News. “And it comes at a time when support from the federal government is dwindling.”
Thomas Cattenacci contributed to this report.