The U.S. economy has been hit hard by inflation. Families in New York are struggling to pay for food, and local food pantries are feeling the pressure.
COVID and supply chain disruptions kickstarted inflationary pressures. Now, with the increased prices of food and gas, the Seneca County House of Concern is seeing a higher demand at the food pantry.
Food pantries are struggling as grocery prices rise with inflation (video)
High food prices forcing people to make tough decisions
The Seneca County House of Concern is a food pantry and a thrift store that helps those in need with basic necessities such as food, clothes and household items.
Delores Morgan, executive director of the House of Concern, explained that with the increased prices of food and gas, they are seeing much higher demand at the food pantry.
“Once the pandemic hit, we were doing anywhere from 25 to 30 families a day, for food. People were losing their jobs and still can’t go out and get a job right now. You know, it’s a sad situation. And I’m just hoping and praying that something gives here soon,” said Morgan.
Morgan said that they are seeing an increase in the demand for personal hygiene items as well.
“That’s a sad situation when no one should have to be put in that position. It’s becoming difficult. With the prices of food and prices of gas, we’re seeing a higher demand for our food pantry. And with that comes along, having to do more fundraisers to be able to keep up with the demand of food,” said Morgan.
Will grocery store prices decrease any time soon?
Todd M. Schmit is a professor in Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.
“As the shift to more discount stores or private label products increases it then puts upward pressures on food pantries. We don’t buy the exact same thing in the exact same quantities today, as we did last month and so if you don’t account for that, then you can sort of, in essence, overestimate true costs to consumers,” said Schmit.
“For the consumer out there thinking about opportunities for substitution effects to ameliorate those budget constraints in the face of increasing prices, there are ways to shift sources of products and alternative retailers. Most federal government reporting agencies are saying that in some ways, it looks like we’re sort of at a peak, but again, it depends on ongoing market conditions and certainly is variability across food products.”
Even though Morgan sees a recession coming and is nervous for that, she says the pantry is going to be okay.
“I’m going to be here and I’m going to help whoever is in need. I, there’s no shame to come and ask for help. I don’t care where you live, we are an open door policy. We are here for you. You need us. Please contact us. I don’t ever want to see anyone go on without one more here to help.”
Megan is a multimedia journalist serving as one of our core reporters in the Finger Lakes region. She is responsible for telling stories that matter to every day Upstate New Yorkers. Have a question or lead? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.