Making It in the Bay

Inflation, Demand Leaves Bay Area Food Banks Struggling to Meet Needs

NBC Universal, Inc.

Inflation is close to a 40-year-high. Bay Area food banks and the people they serve are struggling.

Romana Rivera comes to the food pantry at St. Michael’s church in Livermore once a month.

“I need food in my house,” she said.

Rivera helps care for her granddaughters and is a major provider for her son who suffers from asthma. She said that she now needs help as she is not working.

Rivera is just one example of Bay Area families in need.

“We definitely seeing new people, new people are registering with us older customers or customers who haven’t been with us are coming back to use again,” said volunteer Tiffany Fisher.

Families are struggling and so are Bay Area food banks. Alameda County Food Bank Spokesperson Michael Altfest told NBC Bay Area Wednesday that the inflation is the driving force behind the problem.

“Since the beginning, going back to January, we have seen our monthly distribution increase by the equivalent of about 700,000 meals per month,” he said.

Altfest said food is coming in but added that it’s not so easy to get. It cost a lot more to buy and the demand for it is even higher.

“We are hearing from people that the cost of going to the grocery store is too expensive. The cost of gas is too expensive. People are really struggling right now,” he said.

The struggle is hitting the working class.

Cassidie Bates, Contra Costa County’s Food Bank Public Affairs Manager said that some people they serve have jobs but they don’t have enough money to make ends meet. So, they come to food banks for a little help.

“We are currently serving about 270,000 individuals monthly which is more than we were serving during other points of the pandemic,” she said. "Inflation means the need to help people with food insecurities is there and evidence shows that the need will continue to grow."

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