Charleston, South Carolina – Rising prices and inflation continue to cause a lot of problems for everyone, but especially for low and middle-income families who have a hard time following the rising prices trend. This week, the FED once again hiked the interest rate with the aim of battling the growing inflation and the consumer price index (CPI).
Earlier this month, the Labor Department announced that the consumer price index rose 9.1% from a year earlier in a broad-based advance, the largest gain since the end of 1981. Per the department’s data, the widely followed inflation gauge increased 1.3% from a month earlier, the most since 2005, reflecting higher gasoline, shelter, and food costs.
Expectedly, low-income families are hit the hardest, and the number of people seeking help is growing every day. That is also confirmed by the Lowcountry Food Bank and Community Resource Center representatives, who confirmed that currently, more people are seeking help compared to the peak of the pandemic.
Per the Community Resource Center Executive Director Louis Smith, more than 300 vehicles showed at a recent giveaway event, and the number of people asking for help has been constantly growing in recent weeks. In the meantime, the Lowcountry Food Bank faces higher operational costs and has to pay more for food, meaning they can help fewer people.
Budgeting is currently the major challenge for the Lowcountry Food Bank and Community Resource Center. Smith estimates that a total of 5,000 rely on the Community Resource Center’s help every week.
High gas prices to run the trucks and increased food prices are the major parts of the problem. Year to year, the Community Resource Center has seen a 15 percent increase in operational costs.
According to Brenda Shaw, chief development officer at the Food Bank, the situation there is much worse. She claims that the food bank is seeing a 40% increase in food costs across the board. Some foods have seen price increases of up to 80% when compared to pre-pandemic levels. She, however, further stated that the local Food Bank is not an isolated case as every single Food Bank nationwide is facing similar problems.
While current gas prices and growing food prices are still the major concerns for the non-profits, the decrease in truck drivers is yet another problem that might result in even more mid and long-term issues for the organizations. With the current trucking market, drivers are discouraged from driving, and therefore, food transportation is at risk. In order to avoid transportation delays or cancellations, non-profits have to pay extra to get their food delivered since they get food shipped in from all over the country.
Smith and Shaw both hope they will be able to find more money to finance the increasing operational costs and help as many people as possible.