SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia feeds thousands in the community but with inflation on the rise, the non-profit is feeling the strain of increased demand and high food costs.
“From June to July we actually saw about a 40% increase in food we distributed out to the community,” said Mary Jane Crouch, Executive Director of Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.
Food insecurity in the U.S. soared as a result of the pandemic, now inflation is driving need up once again. Food banks are struggling to meet demand as higher costs impact operations.
“We were doing at some days 6 to 7,000 meals a day during the summer so we can help the children while we’re out of school, well when we’re going out and purchasing that kind of food and it costs even a dollar more, you’re talking a lot,” Crouch said.
Crouch says that inflation has even impacted some of the big food drives and donations that the organization relies on.
“The Coastal Workers Food Drive usually brings in about 90,000 pounds, this year it only brought in around 15,000 pounds, so that was a really big hit on us as well as our food costs have gone up,” Crouch said.
And food costs aren’t the only thing eating into the budget.
“We have additional costs related to our transportation, we have 10 to 12 trucks that go out every day to all these different locations to deliver food to pick up food to bring food back to the food bank, so when those costs go up it impacts us greatly on what we’re able to do,” Crouch said.
The summer months are some of the hardest for non-profits. With children out of school and families needing more support, this summer the agency provided over 150,000 meals to people in the community.
“Summer’s hard, it’s difficult for a lot of people because of access to food,” Crouch said.
But the organization is now gearing up to start its back-to-school programs and at the end of the day, the goal remains the same.
“We want to make sure that people don’t go to bed hungry in our community,” Crouch said. “The United States has a wealth of food and we just need to make sure we all share it to make sure we’re helping each other.”