Inflation and tension in the supply chain create problems for food banks


The holiday season is here, but with unwanted guests. Soaring food and gas prices, coupled with supply chain slowdowns, are creating a mountain of problems that food banks are struggling to deal with. “I mean, it’s all happening at the same time and that makes it very, very difficult,” said Brian Barks, CEO of Food for the Heartland. In food prices alone, Barks said they saw a 12% increase for some foods and fuel costs as high as 50%. “We are also seeing supply chain issues,” Barks said. Things like paper to the food they need, add the cost of delivering those items, the food bank’s $ 780,000 budget is tight. “Compared to what we expected, we just aren’t able to buy that much,” Barks said. Buying less means less food for those in the community who need it. “At the end of the day, we just won’t be able to distribute as much food as we expected,” Barks said. Barks said the number of people in need hasn’t really gone down in Omaha or western Iowa. The price inflation also puts the community in a difficult position to put food on their own tables. “When they go to the grocery store, they also see increasing food costs. And they aren’t able to stretch their budget,” Barks said. The amount of monetary donations, however, has declined since the start of the pandemic, forcing Barks and his staff to consider other ways to meet these high demands. “We just have to find different ways, try to find cheaper sources, in order to get the food that we buy,” Barks said. This includes finding more donated food and collecting more money. Bark said the community still rallies around Food for the Heartland and hopes this year will be the same. “Neighbors want to help neighbors, and the best way to do that is to help people put food on the table,” Barks said.

The holiday season is here, but with unwanted guests. Soaring food and gas prices, coupled with supply chain slowdowns, are creating a mountain of problems that food banks are struggling to deal with.

“I mean, it’s all happening at the same time and that makes it very, very difficult,” said Brian Barks, CEO of Food for the Heartland.

In food prices alone, Barks said they saw a 12% increase for some foods and fuel costs as high as 50%.

“We are also seeing supply chain issues,” Barks said.

Things like paper to the food they need, add the cost of delivering those items, the food bank’s $ 780,000 budget is tight.

“Compared to what we expected, we just aren’t able to buy that much,” Barks said.

Buying less means less food for those in the community who need it.

“At the end of the day, we just won’t be able to distribute as much food as we expected,” Barks said.

Barks said the number of people in need hasn’t really gone down in Omaha or western Iowa.

The price inflation also puts the community in a difficult position to put food on their own tables.

“When they go to the grocery store, they also see rising food costs. And they aren’t able to stretch their budget,” Barks said.

The amount of monetary donations, however, has declined since the start of the pandemic, forcing Barks and his staff to consider other ways to meet these high demands.

“We just have to find different ways, trying to find cheaper sources, in order to get the food we buy,” Barks said.

This includes finding more donated food and collecting more money.

Bark said the community still rallies around Food for the Heartland and hopes this year will be the same.

“Neighbors want to help neighbors, and the best way to do that is to help people put food on the table,” Barks said.

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