‘We want to help’: Rising food prices might drive more people to food pantries

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(WKBN) – First News’ parent company Nexstar is participating in a partnership during Hunger Action Month. The inflationary cycle has pushed food prices up, which might be a new catalyst for help.

On Tuesday, a group of volunteers packed boxes with 25 pounds of meat, which will be passed out this week at one of the 150 food pantries in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties.

“These pantries do a phenomenal job in their community because they service that community,” said Mike Iberis of the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The groups pick up food and take it back to their community to feed people there that need help.

They make sure everyone in that community knows they are providing food on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

Second Harvest says the pantries were taking more food during the pandemic.

“Going from seeing about 13,000 people a week that were being fed to over 15,000, so that was a pretty big jump,” Iberis said.

He believes the number has stabilized back near its original level, but with food prices going up, there could be some people having trouble matching food with their budget.

“That could drive someone that maybe can’t get enough food for their dollars at the grocery store, come to a food pantry on a limited visit,” Iberis said.

That’s what makes the local food pantry so important. Friends who care help people in need.

Second Harvest lost the National Guard help, but about 90% of its volunteers have been able to return roughly 80 people a week to help pack the food and help feed their area.

“And we’ve been very fortunate because we’ve picked up many new volunteers that have come from the community and said, hey we’ve seen what you’re doing. We see it in our community. We want to help. And they’re here to help,” Iberis said.

If you need help and wonder where you can go to get food, call 211.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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