Food banks seeing an increase in demand with the increase in food prices, inflation

With inflation and the price for groceries on the rise, more and more people in Southwest Florida are using food banks to supplement or fully support their ability to keep food on the table again.

The last time there was a large need for food was during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. Matthew’s House says it has seen an increase in people needing food. They provide boxes of food worth $102 each for families in need.

The President and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank Richard Leber said, “money doesn’t go as far as it used to.”

For families getting food from St. Matthew’s House, it used to go as far as giving a family of four, five to six days’ worth of food.

Lorna McLain with St. Matthews House said, “we had to limit the size of what we’re able to pass out, you know, right now it’s about family of four, four to three days.”

Leber said there is not as much food to go around. The good news, he says donations of food haven’t slowed down.

But one thing has, “there aren’t as many people coming to get food as there were at the peak of the pandemic,” said Leber.

It is still peak season for St. Matthew’s house, though. McLain said, “the number of families, it has not dropped, it has not decreased, we’re still seeing the same volume of families.”

More families or less food to give away, these two organizations don’t plan on turning away a hungry mouth.

Leber said, “we’re just going to have to manage it as best as we can try to take care of as many people as we can.”

“That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to serve. And we hope that we could continue serving our community,” said McLain.

St. Matthew’s House is holding three food distributions this week, including two on Thursday in Naples, and one of Friday in Fort Myers.

  • Thursday, Jan. 13: Iglesia Pueblo de Dios, 4400 Tamiami Trail E Naples, FL 34112 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 13: First Haitian Baptist Church, 14600 Tamiami Trail E Naples, FL 34114 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 15: Fort Myers Thrift Store, 3954 Broadway Fort Myers, FL 33901 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

St. Matthew’s House says it helped feed 213,373 families in 2021 and more than 300,000 families during the pandemic.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank also has several places that you can visit. You can find them on their website by clicking on ‘Find Food’ in the top right or by clicking here.

Writer:Matthew Seaver
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