US Food Banks Overwhelmed as Americans Seek Charitable Handouts Amid Surging Gas & Grocery Costs

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from Sputnik News:

Inflation in the US has hit a 41-year high of 9.1%, with the Federal Reserve responding by raising interest rates. Economists point to factors such as increased spending through pandemic-related economic stimulus, broken supply chains and increased production costs, mostly due to surging energy costs, as the driving factors.

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Food banks across the US are struggling to meet demand as increasingly more Americans are driven by inflation to join long lines of those seeking aid, reported AP. Furthermore, 10% of the people are first timers, and a growing number are showing up on foot rather than in cars to save gas after the average cost of fuel nationwide briefly hit $5 a gallon in June.
After initially seeing some relief last year, which saw many people return to work after the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, now the food banks are overwhelmed with demand. Furthermore, federal programs are providing less food to distribute and grocery store donations have been dwindling, added the report.
Store closing signs are shown on a Stein Mart store Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, in Salt Lake City. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.07.2022

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‘Caught Off Guard’

As hundreds of families were lined up in cars outside St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona, the food bank was reported as saying its main distribution center had provided packages to 4,271 families during the third week in June. This amount of handouts is a nearly 78% increase over the same week in 2021, said St. Mary’s spokesman Jerry Brown.
Brown was cited as saying that over 900 families queue at the distribution center every weekday to receive food boxes with goods such as canned beans, peanut butter and rice. St. Mary’s itself also adds products purchased with cash donations, as well as food offered by local supermarkets. The combined package containing goods like bread, carrots and pork chops is typically worth around $75.
A similar surge of demand for charity products has been reported by California’s Alameda County Community Food Bank and Texas’ Houston Food Bank, with the latter now giving out an average of 610,000 pounds of food daily. That is up from about 500,000 pounds a day before the pandemic, spokeswoman Paula Murphy said.

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