Saturday, May 25, 2013
Higher Food Prices, Greater Need for Food Pantry Services
A 60-percent rise in food costs within the past year has sent thousands more to local food pantries.
If you feel like you are spending more money at the grocery store you may be right.
A new national survey shows the cost of food has risen 60 percent in just the last year. Here in Anchorage, those higher prices are sending more people to local food pantries.
The Lutheran Social Services Pantry has served about 2000 more families this year than last, and Catholic Social Services says the number of people visiting its food pantry this year is up almost 40 percent.
But it isn’t just the cost of food that’s the problem—A recent survey shows people are making tough choices because the cost of everything is going up, and a lot of those visiting food pantries are actually employed.
“Utility bills, rent is going up, the cost of food is going up, everything in their lives is going up,” says Lutheran Social Services’ Alan Budahl. “We can help them to make the tough choices. We tell them to take the money they are spending on food for their families and pay their rent—we will help them find the food.”
At Catholic Social Services’ St. Francis House, the food line includes lots of large families. Manager Linda Bond says they are seeing families moving in to share expenses but that also means more mouths to feed.
“We have a family of 17 and one of 15 including several tens and twenties,” says Bond.
And they are seeing singles as well, some of who say they can’t afford to feed themselves.
“It’s terrible, you just can’t survive. You have to come here.” Terry Anderson is a senior who now makes a monthly visit to the food pantry. She says it was embarrassing at first.
“Very embarrassing, because you don’t want to be seen here but you get over it,” says Anderson.