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Due to rising prices at grocery stores, local families are struggling to put food on the table

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Posted at 5:53 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 18:01:59-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Rising prices at grocery stores are putting more stress on local families.

"I just went to the store the other day with the last $20 and I couldn't get everything that I need for my family," said Kelly Johnson.

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It's a harsh new reality for Johnson, a single mother of five.

"I kind of walk a thin line with my bills," she said. "I literally went into instant poverty."

Due to the coronavirus, millions of families are in the same situation: out of work, waiting for their unemployment checks and trying to put food on the table as grocery store prices increase daily.

"Prices are being jacked up on milk and eggs," Johnson said. "I've never seen meat prices get jumped up the way they are."

According to the food industry association, meat, poultry and eggs are amongst the highest priced food items, with a 4.3% increase.

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"People are staying home. They're not going out anymore so... grocery stores are seeing over 25% sales increases," said Patrick Penfield, professor of supply management at Syracuse University.

Meat packing plants are also having a difficult time meeting the demand. Several of them have been forced to shut down due to several employees getting the virus.

Experts aren't sure when prices will go down.

Unfortunately, Johnson and others aren't sure when they'll be back at work.

Johnson said even with the help of food pantries, she still doesn't have enough food to last her family. So she's now limiting herself and her kids to two meals a day.

"I've had to have conversations with my kids about the possibility that we run out of food," she said. "That's very sad."