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Inflation putting strain on Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast food banks

'I feel like we're walking into another crisis,' Palm Beach County Food Bank CEO says
Posted at 4:56 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 18:12:00-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — As prices continue to rise, many people are having a tough time just putting food on the table.

Inflation is also putting a strain on local food banks at a time when they may be needed the most.

RELATED: Here are the food items that cost more in 2022

Between volunteer and supply chain shortages, it hasn't been easy keeping the food safety net going for everyone in need.

Inflation is now making the situation more challenging.

Marlene Mejia, CEO of The Soup Kitchen
Marlene Mejia is the CEO of The Soup Kitchen located in southern Palm Beach County.

"More and more people find it hard to just [get by] with one paycheck, go to the store and buy their groceries for an entire week. So, what they're doing is supplementing by coming by the Soup Kitchen," said Marlene Mejia, CEO of The Soup Kitchen.

The Soup Kitchen has been operating in west Boynton Beach for 40 years.

Mejia said they're facing the biggest challenge since coming out of the pandemic.

Most of the items they provide are donated, but they have to purchase some food.

Anyone shopping for groceries knows that inflation is costing more to stock your shelves.

"Last year we used to get three palettes, and now it's reduced just down to one. We still are very fortunate to be able to receive it. But being the largest pantry in Palm Beach County, it puts a big dent in our finances," Mejia said.

 Jamie Kendall, the CEO of the Palm Beach County Food Bank
Jamie Kendall discusses the struggles impacting the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

"I feel like we're walking into another crisis," said Jamie Kendall, the CEO of the Palm Beach County Food Bank.

Kendall said they too are getting slammed by the rapid increase in the cost of food.

"We have seen a decline in the donated food that we received from some of our retail partners and some of the manufacturers," Kendall said. "That boils down to the supply chain issue they themselves are dealing with. So again, bank levels were feeling that as well."

It is the same circumstances for the Treasure Coast Food Bank, which serves on average 250,000 people per week through their partner agencies.

They are trying to come up with solutions to continue this essential community service.

"We're doing more food drives. We're asking the community to give us more assistance in certain areas," Ron Wise, director of program services at the Treasure Coast Food Bank. "So, that's how we are kind of countering what's going on inflation-wise."

Food is costing more at a time when even more is needed.

It seems like a perfect storm, but all food safety-net agencies are confident they will weather it.