Reading this article from the Boston Globe, "Squeezed by Prices, Pantries Ask for Help,"
should have felt like more of a shock. But really, it just made grim sense.
Of course food pantries and homeless shelters, dependent on donations of food and money, would be hard hit by the rising food costs we've all been anxiously discussing.
But it's more complicated than you might expect.Boston-area shelters are facing a double-whammy when it comes to dealing with these high food costs.
First, and most obviously, is that the food itself simply costs more. The article mentions that the price of spaghetti, meat, and (a bit surprisingly) canned goods have increased dramatically. Additionally, the fuel required to distribute food to individual locations is taking up a larger chunk of agencies' overall budgets.
Secondly and perhaps not so obviously, is the fact that more people are coming to food banks for help than ever before--almost twice the numbers from last year. Many people who have been getting by on tight budgets and food stamps are seeking assistance for the first time.
On top of this, there has been a drop in donations as individuals struggle with their own budget dilemmas.
We assume that the situation is much the same across the country. What have your local papers been saying?
Related: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats
(Photo Credit: Boston Food Bank, by MonkeyatLarge via Flickr Creative Commons)