Inflation sending more Rhode Island families to food banks

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Food banks in Rhode Island are seeing a spike in families seeking help as prices rise at the grocery store.

“When you go to the grocery store, it started off when prices of certain things were higher. Now, it’s across the board,” Kate MacDonald with the RI Community Food Bank said. “For some of the lower income families we serve, it means that they have to just buy less and then when you add on top of that the price of gas, rent increases, the price of utilities, it all just becomes too much and families need help.”

Groceries are now 8% more expensive than they were a year ago, leaving more Rhode Islanders seeking help. Many are turning to local food banks supplied by the R.I. Community Food Bank, but MacDonald says it hasn’t been easy for them either.

“It’s been getting harder and harder for us to provide food to those agencies at a reasonable cost,” MacDonald said. “We have seen a decrease during the pandemic of donations. We rely more and more on purchasing at wholesale costs by the truckload and the prices for even doing that have as much as doubled in some cases.”

MacDonald says the cost of goods to supply the shelters has nearly doubled and donations are few and far in between.

On top of that, the labor shortage is causing food banks to lose delivery drivers and the price of diesel fuel is going up with the price of food.

“The best way to help the food bank is to make a donation because we’re purchasing wholesale were able to stretch a dollar much further than we’d be able to in the grocery store and make sure we’re providing the food our guests and agencies want to have,” MacDonald said.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island