TAMPA, Fla. — Food banks across the U.S. continue to serve a larger amount of people than they did before the pandemic, and now the nonprofits are facing another challenge: inflation of food prices.
“Everything is more expensive,” said Thomas Mantz, President and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay.
They’re the organizations that have helped people in need literally to survive during the pandemic. As more and more people needed help, they were there. And they’re continuing to step up this holiday season as inflation throws another wrench into people's lives.
“When you talk about the increases to, not just grocery prices, but gas prices, housing prices, all of those inevitably challenge the budgets of those we serve,” said Mantz.
Mantz says the catastrophic rise in food insecurity has leveled off over the last year, but even now, Feeding Tampa Bay is still serving 35 percent more people today than they were pre-pandemic. And they need all the help they can get.
“If you can, come out and help. Your time is incredibly valuable. Second, if you are able to, donate financially. While we appreciate when folks do food drives, and those are helpful, the reality is we can make a dollar stretch much, much farther,” said Mantz.
Other organizations in the Tampa Bay area are experiencing similar needs.
“We’re right back up to our COVID numbers of about 42,000 families that we’re forecasting that will need our help,” said Tim Marks, President and CEO of Metropolitan Ministries.
Metropolitan Ministries also needs donations, but instead of asking solely for monetary donations, they’re asking you to do some of the shopping if you can.
“We can’t bulk buy because the supply chain’s challenges, so any viewer that can come out there, we need turkeys, and lots of turkeys, we always need cereal, canned fruit, yams, and stuffing,” said Marks.
Through their “Inspire Hope” holiday campaign, they’re going to 6 counties and 12 distribution sites, with 65 different partners, to provide help to the hardest-hit zip codes.
“Bringing love and joy to people that are struggling this holiday season, what can be better than helping somebody in need,” said Marks.