Food bank demand rising amid soaring inflation: 'A dollar does not stretch as far any longer'

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Food bank demand rising amid soaring inflation

Zanita Tisdale, the senior director of member engagement at the Food Bank For New York City, notes new ‘entrants to the food and security space’ as inflation sits at 40-year highs.

A New York City food bank executive noted that there have been new "entrants to the food insecurity space" as soaring inflation impacts millions of Americans.

Zanita Tisdale, the senior director of member engagement at the Food Bank For New York City, said during an interview that aired on "Varney & Co." Tuesday that those new "entrants" are "really having to navigate" inflationary pressures because "a dollar does not stretch as far any longer." 

Tisdale provided the insight after it was revealed that inflation accelerated more than expected to a new four-decade high in June as the price of everyday necessities remains painfully high, exacerbating a financial strain on millions of Americans. 

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 9.1% in June from a year ago. Prices jumped 1.3% in the one-month period from May. Those figures were both far higher than the 8.8% headline figure and 1% monthly gain forecast by Refinitiv economists. 

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The data marked the fastest pace of inflation since December 1981. 

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Inflation numbers hotter than expected

FOX Business’ Cheryl Casone reports on June’s Consumer Price Index released Wednesday, which revealed inflation now sits at a fresh 40-year high.

Price increases were extensive: Energy prices rose 7.5% in June from the previous month, and are up 41.6% from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 59.9% more than it did one year ago and 11.2% more than it did in May. The food index, meanwhile, climbed 1% in June, as consumers paid more for items like cereal, chicken, milk and fresh vegetables. 

FOX Business’ Lydia Hu reported Tuesday that while the Food Bank For New York City has been able to keep up with the increased demand so far, there are "real concerns" about how much longer that sentiment would continue. 

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Food bank providers try to keep supply steady with costs rising

The Rainier Valley Food Bank hands out food to people in Seattle every week. More people are coming through and it’s getting tougher to meet demand.

Hu reported that the organization has seen a 92% increase in the number of visitors now compared to before the pandemic. Officials with the food bank were hopeful that the need would dissipate because people were returning to work, but instead, rampant inflation has caused demand to increase further. 

Growing demand is not just unique to New York City. Food banks around the country are experiencing long lines.

The main distribution center for St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona, provided packages to 4,271 families during the third week in June, which marked a nearly 80% increase compared to the same week in 2021, according to officials. 

Inflation accelerated more than expected to a new four-decade high in June as the price of everyday necessities remains painfully high. (iStock / iStock)

Distribution by California's Alameda County Community Food Bank has also risen this summer and Texas' Houston Food Bank now gives out an average of 610,000 pounds of goods. 

In Southern California, the Los Angeles bank gave away around 30 million pounds of food during the first three months of this year, far more than the 22 million pounds passed out during the first quarter of 2020.

A spokesperson said that was up from 500,000 daily pounds before the pandemic.

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According to Feeding America, more than 53 million people received help from food banks and food pantries in 2021 – or one-third more than before the pandemic.

A Feeding America food bank survey earlier this year showed that 80% of food banks were reporting either an increase or steady demand for emergency food services.

FOX Business’ Megan Henney, Julia Musto and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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