Food banks grapple with increased demand, costs heading into holidays



As inflation drives up prices, higher food costs are taking a toll on everyone, including food banks. As demand and prices are going up, it’s costing food banks more to feed families who rely on them. KMBC 9 found out the challenges food banks are facing heading into the holidays, and how you can help. From sorting, to packing, to delivering, it all starts inside Harvesters’ warehouse.“We know that when you go to the grocery store right now you might walk out with 3 or 4 bags and it costs you a hundred dollars,” said Harvesters spokesperson Kera Mashek.Those sky-high food prices are spiking demand for the food bank’s help.“I hear time and again, ‘this is my first time’, ‘this is my 2nd time’, ‘I just started coming within the last six months,’” she said.Harvesters is now serving 226,000 people every month. It’s a near-historic high, about 30% above pre-pandemic levels.With the holidays approaching, they expect the need to be even greater.“If they’re not able to buy a turkey that maybe last year cost them $10 or $15 and now is going to cost $20 to $30, that’s going to be an additional need that they may come to us to seek that help,” Mashek said.Bird flu has also pumped up prices for that holiday staple, which means Harvesters is paying more, too. This year they spent almost $100,000 more than last year on turkeys alone.“Really now is a critical time, especially as we head into the first of the year, that any Kansas Citian to have it in their budget to donate a dollar or two even can make a huge difference,” Mashek said.“This is just a little something that I can do to help out,” said volunteer Debbie Ruth. For volunteers like her, donating time is equally as impactful.“Sometimes makes you want to cry when you stop and think about what it is that you’re actually doing and how it is that you’re helping,” Ruth said. “This is a lifesaver for them and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”If you want to help, donating money will go the furthest. Just one dollar can buy two meals. Right now, Harvesters has their Check-Out-Hunger program going on where you can donate any amount when you checkout at Hy-Vee or Price Chopper. Harvesters also has blue barrels set up at grocery stores to collect food donations.If you need help, click here for a list of mobile food distribution sites across the metro.

As inflation drives up prices, higher food costs are taking a toll on everyone, including food banks. As demand and prices are going up, it’s costing food banks more to feed families who rely on them. KMBC 9 found out the challenges food banks are facing heading into the holidays, and how you can help.

From sorting, to packing, to delivering, it all starts inside Harvesters’ warehouse.

“We know that when you go to the grocery store right now you might walk out with 3 or 4 bags and it costs you a hundred dollars,” said Harvesters spokesperson Kera Mashek.

Those sky-high food prices are spiking demand for the food bank’s help.

“I hear time and again, ‘this is my first time’, ‘this is my 2nd time’, ‘I just started coming within the last six months,’” she said.

Harvesters is now serving 226,000 people every month. It’s a near-historic high, about 30% above pre-pandemic levels.

With the holidays approaching, they expect the need to be even greater.

“If they’re not able to buy a turkey that maybe last year cost them $10 or $15 and now is going to cost $20 to $30, that’s going to be an additional need that they may come to us to seek that help,” Mashek said.

Bird flu has also pumped up prices for that holiday staple, which means Harvesters is paying more, too. This year they spent almost $100,000 more than last year on turkeys alone.

“Really now is a critical time, especially as we head into the first of the year, that any Kansas Citian to have it in their budget to donate a dollar or two even can make a huge difference,” Mashek said.

“This is just a little something that I can do to help out,” said volunteer Debbie Ruth. For volunteers like her, donating time is equally as impactful.

“Sometimes makes you want to cry when you stop and think about what it is that you’re actually doing and how it is that you’re helping,” Ruth said. “This is a lifesaver for them and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

If you want to help, donating money will go the furthest. Just one dollar can buy two meals.

Right now, Harvesters has their Check-Out-Hunger program going on where you can donate any amount when you checkout at Hy-Vee or Price Chopper.

Harvesters also has blue barrels set up at grocery stores to collect food donations.

If you need help, click here for a list of mobile food distribution sites across the metro.



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