Rising grocery prices putting pinch on food banks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rising grocery prices putting pinch on food banks


The rising cost of groceries is putting area food banks in a tough spot. As the prices keep going up, so does the number of people needing help.

"It's just a matter of food costs are up, salaries are going down and, at some point in there, we have all of these families that's never been to a food bank before," said James Gill, with the Sumner County Food Bank.

Gill has fed the hungry for 41 years. He says no one has been turned away for two years at the Sumner County Food Bank, but that could happen.

"The battle is where we, at one time, bought basically all of our food at one place, now we are searching all over the county for specials," Gill said.

It will take an estimated $96,000 just to feed families across Sumner County this year.

"Canned goods, we were paying anywhere from 45 to 50 cents a can, [but now that] is up to 70 and 80 cents. Peanut butter is up over $1," Gill said.

Every third Tuesday of the month, between 1,100 and 1,500 stand in line around the food bank building - some even spending the night in line - just to get 10 days worth of food for their families.

The families get things like cereal, skillet dinners, mac and cheese and 25 pounds of meat. About 80 percent of the food is purchased from Second Harvest.

Gill is praying for more donations so he won't have to cut back the amount of food to a five-day supply or, worse, leave families hungry.

"The greatest success a food bank can have is locking that door and not be needed anymore, but I've never seen that happen, and you and I both know that won't happen," he said.

The Sumner County Food Bank is always accepting cash or credit card donations. This is the best way to help out since all of the money will buy food, and they can really stretch that dollar by buying three times as much food at their discounted prices.

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