CINCINNATI — Food is getting more expensive, causing stress to Tri-State families preparing for the holidays.
Tyson Foods, the largest meat company in the country, reports chicken prices went up roughly 19% during the fourth quarter. Beef and pork prices each rose more than 30% during that same time.
Julianne Kreimborg, who lives in Florence, said what used to cost about $120 each week now costs her about $180 or $200.
“Just your everyday stuff like toilet paper, toothpaste, your milk, eggs," Kreimborg said. "I mean, it's hard."
Data from the U.S. Labor Department shows families are facing the highest inflation rate since 1990. Price hikes have also been fueled by high consumer demand and supply shortages.
“These items most likely will add up over time,” said Mac Lewis, social media manager at food rescue nonprofit La Soupe. “Little increases can lead to large amounts of money in the end.”
La Soupe takes perishable foods that might otherwise be wasted by farms, grocers and wholesalers and transforms them into healthy meals. The organization has increased capacity and production over the last year to meet rising demand.
“With the start of COVID, individuals were being furloughed or losing work and losing their income, so there was that type of stress occurring,” Lewis said. “But now with an increase of food prices across the nation and, of course, in our community, it's again marginalizing a certain group.”
Lewis said La Soupe has already produced 100,000 more servings of food in 2021 than this time last year — and the sticker shock is hitting the Tri-State just in time for the holidays.
“They may not have that extra cash flow to even put together and pull off this big family meal,” said Eboni Perkins, GO Operations Manager at Crossroads Church.
Organizations like Crossroads are trying to help. The church is hosting a Thanksgiving food drive to collect holiday staples for local partners to distribute. Individuals can visit Crossroads locations to pick up boxes and shopping lists to be filled at grocery stores. The goal is to feed 100,000 people.
“If we can step in and provide a meal to them that doesn't impact their already strict budget, we are just being a blessing to that family and many families like that in the community,” Perkins said.
Kreimborg does not know how long the strain will last, but said she hopes others struggling keep their heads up.
“There has to be a point where we're back on top of the water level with this versus feeling like we're drowning,” Kreimborg said.