TAMPA, Fla. — It's no secret the pandemic has led to a financial and food crisis for many.
Matthew Spence, the Chief Programs Officer for Feeding Tampa Bay, says he sees it first hand.
“We know that there are more people in need of food today than there were two years ago," he said.
The nonprofit says those hardest hit are having to make tough choices to stay afloat.
“People who are food insecure are already making a lot of trade-off choices. Do I delay a bill here or there? How much do I feed my dog or my cat? Can I pay for my medicine this month?" said Spence.
Economists like USF professor Michael Snipes say for some, those decisions are only going to get more difficult.
"25 cents plus 25 cents, plus 25 cents is going to add up very quickly," he said.
This comes after Dollar Tree, a staple store for many on fixed incomes, announced that it's looking to raise certain prices by a minimum of 25 cents.
"That is definitely something that has the potential to really eat into the cost of living and the standard of living that some lower-income individuals might experience," said Snipes.
He predicts the price hikes will force more people out of grocery stores and into donation lines, which he says is bad for us all.
"That does have the potential to impact the size and growth of the economy," said Snipes.
In the face of that grim reality, Feeding Tampa Bay says they're preparing.
“We know the need will increase and we know our services will be needed now more than ever," said Spence.
Snipes is hoping our state and federal government can step in to help.
"When we look at the individuals who are more negatively affected, then we can target policy to those particular individuals," he said.
Feeding Tampa Bay encourages anyone who needs help to reach out to them. They're also hiring if you're looking for work, click here to learn more.