AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – If you think you have to deal with higher prices when you buy one jar of peanut butter, just think of how much you’d have to spend to buy a pallet full of 200 jars.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank serves two large cities and dozens and dozens of food banks scattered across eight counties.
Their grocery bill has gone up way up — so much so that, right now, shelves that normally would be full are empty.
“This year, we’ve had to purchase 14% of the food we sources compared to only 4$ last year, so we’re buying more food to keep our shelves stocked since we’re receiving less donations.”
Food bank spokesperson Raven Gayheart says the amount of canned goods and fresh food they receive from local sources is not there.
Because of supply chain issues and higher costs, there is no surplus on the market that would normally get donated.
Even though costs have gone up, so has the number of people that they serve.
The holidays are especially a time when the food bank’s partner churches, schools and community groups are seeing more people come in to ask for help.
Even before the holidays, they’ve seen the number of people asking for help rise more than 14%.
“And of those people, 25% of them are new, meaning they’ve never had to ask for help before. So inflation is putting a lot of pressure on local families,” Gayheart said.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is in the middle of its holiday campaign to help not only raise funds to buy more food to distribute, but also to raise awareness about the ongoing struggles of many folks in the eight-county area they serve.
They’re holding the Selfless Elf 5K fun run Saturday as part of a big push to raise money.
They hope this campaign will fill those shelves again and get more people out there who want to help their neighbors.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to create an awareness about hunger to a network of people who might not know about food insecurity in our eight-county service area,” Gayheart said.
You can learn more information about the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank here.