BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) – As the cost of living is on the rise, more families are turning to food banks. At the same time, supply chain shortages combined with inflation have left the food bank with fewer donations.
“We are seeing about a 10% increase in the number of families coming to our food banks so far this calendar year,” said Kelly Miller, with the Greater Lansing Food Bank. “What we’re seeing right now, is a decrease in supply coming in from the USDA. This is happening at food banks all across the country.”
Miller said the USDA used to be one of the main donors to the food bank. This year the USDA decreased donations by over 50%. In order to fill in the gaps, the Greater Lansing Food Bank has had to purchase its limited food supply.
“Every bit of food that we are ordering, just like we did this time last year, it’s costing us between 20-30% more,” Miller said. “And we have to make up for food that we normally get from the USDA that’s just not able to get to us because of supply chain (issues). ”
Miller added the decrease in donations could also come from an increase in shipping costs. Not only is it more expensive to ship items, it’s also harder to find delivery people.
“It’s hard to get food where it needs to go right now,” said Miller. “Everything kind of feels like it’s compounding a lot right now, and our families are feeling this”
While there’s no singular reason for the lack of donations over the past four months, USDA’s Michigan Representative Alec Lloyd blames the overall situation.
“I think these are macroeconomic trends, that you’re seeing, you know, everybody is seeing,” said Lloyd.
He said this is not the result of any USDA policy changes that he is aware of, but just the way things turned out this year. He also added it’s hard to be certain about the fluctuation in donations.
“We’re not sure how they’re quantifying USDA donations. There are multiple agencies, we each donate separately because we work in separate work areas,” added Lloyd.
Kelly Miller credits the community for GLFB’s current ability to feed the hungry, and said it would not be possible without their support.
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