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Food pantries struggle as demand and prices soar

Posted at 7:17 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 07:17:57-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- We're nearing the busiest time of year for organizations that help people in need.

Food pantries across Central Virginia are anticipating thousands flocking to their shelves for Thanksgiving supplies, so Feed More — Central Virginia's core hunger-relief organization — started preparing for the holiday season months ago.

"I think we all have in our mind that idea of what should be on your Thanksgiving table," explained Christy Dalton, community events manager for Feed More. "And just because you're food insecure doesn't mean you shouldn't have those. We work really hard to make sure that we can secure those ahead of time and get them out to people."

Dalton said the need for free groceries is still up 15% from pre-pandemic levels. Right now, Feed More estimates there are about 165,000 food insecure people in Central Virginia.

While the need is still up, so are the prices of groceries. In fact, meat, chicken, fish and egg prices have risen about 15% since last year.

"We are finding that as we're trying to replenish our shelves, it's harder to get things," said Dalton. "It's longer lead times, and it's costing us more. We've always said for a long time that $1 helps us provide four meals because we can buy food in bulk, but that bulk is getting harder and harder to come by."

That’s why the organization is asking for your help to donate canned goods or make a monetary donation, so they can continue helping families in need.

"Most people know that what they have in their pantry, but not to know what you have is really hard," said Dalton. "And to be able to help someone know that, hey, for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to have some great items in my pantry is a really wonderful feeling."

Feed More recently reopened their community donation door, so you can drop off canned goods and other items Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The organization is also looking for volunteers as they resume their regular Meals on Wheels deliveries to isolated seniors. To help out or learn more information, visit feedmore.org.