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Tri-State food pantries go from feast to famine amid inflation, summer break

Shared Harvest FoodBank food pantry
Posted at 4:15 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 19:57:36-04

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Food pantries across the country are experiencing increased demand at a time when giving slows due to summer vacation. Add in inflation, and leaders of these food banks say you get the perfect storm.

“We have had nearly 50 truckloads of food just be canceled,” said Terry Perdue, executive director at Shared Harvest Food Bank.

Perdue said his food pantry in Fairfield went from feast to famine in recent months as his team struggles to fill bare shelves.

“It is a time when we experience increased need cyclicly because children are out of school,” Perdue said.

Every Friday, he and a team of volunteers serve upwards of 200 families, hit by high food costs, high gas prices and food shortages.

“We call it a perfect storm because in just a few short months the extra federal benefits that are currently supporting people towards what we are thinking is the tail end of the pandemic, they are about to go away,” he said.

Cincinnati Urban Promise, a nonprofit in Westwood that hosts a food pantry, is also facing a similar dilemma as they see higher demand from the people they serve and deal with the added barrier of living in a food desert.

“The added cost of food and gas and having the ability to go across town to the grocery store when people are already on a very fixed budget," director Abe Brandyberry said. "Being able to gain access to that food is getting harder."

Both Brandyberry and Perdue said there is no end in sight.

“The need is still very much here,” Perdue said. “We cannot let people forget that there are people who don’t recover as quickly economically as the rest of us.”

The two organizations are in need of donations — both monetary and food. Shared Harvest is also looking for volunteers to help serve families.

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