Ita Espinoza picks up groceries for her family from a food pantry at Shiloh Mercy House in Oakland, California. (AP/Terry Chea)

Ita Espinoza picks up groceries for her family from a food pantry at Shiloh Mercy House in Oakland, California. (AP/Terry Chea)

Staff members pick out groceries for a customer at Shiloh Mercy House. (AP/Terry Chea)

Staff members pick out groceries for a customer at Shiloh Mercy House. (AP/Terry Chea)

A worker puts bags of sweet potatoes in a container in the warehouse of the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, California. (AP/Terry Chea)

A worker puts bags of sweet potatoes in a container in the warehouse of the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, California. (AP/Terry Chea)

Teshia Elliott sorts food items at the Atlanta Food Bank’s Hunger Action Center in College Park, Georgia. (AP/John Bazemore)

Teshia Elliott sorts food items at the Atlanta Food Bank’s Hunger Action Center in College Park, Georgia. (AP/John Bazemore)

Volunteer leader Bruce Beecham works at the Atlanta Food Bank’s Hunger Action Center. (AP/John Bazemore)

Volunteer leader Bruce Beecham works at the Atlanta Food Bank’s Hunger Action Center. (AP/John Bazemore)

Trouble for Food Banks

Posted: January 1, 2022

At Shiloh’s Community Market in Oakland, California, Sonia Lujan-Perez picks up chicken, celery, onions, bread, and potatoes for free. This will help her feed herself, her three-year-old daughter, and her 18-year-old son. She needs the extra food, especially with the cost of milk, citrus, spinach, and chicken so high.

“That is wonderful for me because I will save a lot of money,” she says.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people line up outside Shiloh Mercy House for its weekly food giveaway.

Ministries like Shiloh Mercy House and its Community Market get their food from food banks. Have you ever visited or volunteered at a food bank? Tens of millions of people in the United States use food distribution spots. But these days, some families may get smaller servings or substitutions.

Here’s why. Over the last year, more people than usual have sought help buying food. But because of the pandemic’s impact, some supply chains have slowed down or broken. Transportation prices are up, so food is more expensive to move. Food factories lack workers. Often, grocery stores and food banks are left waiting for their goods.

Everything costs more. Some food banks are buying staples such as peanut butter for nearly double what they cost two years ago. Prices have gone up for canned green beans, tuna, and peaches. Food banks pay extra for frozen fish and chicken too. Even dry oatmeal costs 17% more than it used to.

Did you know so many people have extra needs right now? Food banks can’t go on paying double or triple the price for food that they hope to give away. Think about the neighbors around you. Who might need food? Is there something you can do to help?

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. — Proverbs 22:9

Why? It’s important to know that people around us may have extra needs this year. Maybe God is calling us to help.