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Food assistance programs seeing more demand in midst of holiday season

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Raleigh, North Carolina — As more families prepare to gather around the table for the holidays, more people need help putting food on the table.

Local food banks say higher gas and food prices are encouraging more people to use their services.

The Interface Hood Shuttle in Raleigh’s Blair Drive is just such an example.

The Triangle’s two largest feeding charities say demand has increased by 20-30% since pre-pandemic.

Some of it is due to growth, but much of it is due to inflation.

As families start spending more, from rent to gas, their food bills take a hit. And charities are working hard to keep up with that need.

“We and our partner agency, the Soup Kitchen Pantry that we feed, feel an incredible need during this time,” said Whichchard. “Pre-COVID. Some people are reporting about a 30% increase in the number of people in need of hunger relief systems.”

Inter-Faith food Shuttle’s Melvin Acosta says demand has increased 21% over the past year.

“Some of them aren’t the people who come in every week to request,” Acosta said. It’s coming as if it was a one-off.”

Hunger is a long-standing problem in this state. About 1.5 million people in North Carolina were food insecure last year, according to the nonprofit Feeding America. One-fifth of them were children. With all costs going up, it’s almost certain to be even more expensive now.

“Your rent is a fixed item that you have to pay,” Acosta said. “Mortgage is a fixed item. Utilities are also fixed items. It will pay for food.”

Cash donations are declining, Acosta said. Inflation has taken a double hit as non-profits are also forced to spend more to buy food. He hopes the holidays will turn that around.

“One dollar can make a difference in someone’s life,” Acosta said. will be.”

“I see people saying this is going to make a difference in the holiday season,” said Whichchard. Make sure you really can have it.”

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