More people are turning to local food banks due to higher costs of groceries and gas. Across the state, those banks are reporting long lines. Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services has helped 40% more people over the past month, while Santa Barbara County’s food bank has experienced a 30% uptick in pounds of food and people served since the last three months of 2021. Those numbers are all according to the LA Times.
Some families are trying to balance their need to buy food and their need to buy gas (on top of other bills), says LA Regional Food Bank President Michael Flood.
“What we find over and over is [that] food is at the end of the budget. Food is just what people have left over in their budget to pay for, and which is why many people look to food banks and food pantries and the agencies we serve,” Flood explains.
His food bank is also receiving new families who have never sought food assistance, he points out.
“We're still seeing new people come in — some who [have] tried to weather the challenges of these last two years of the pandemic and the impact on employment,” he says. “A lot of people hold on and say, ‘I'm going to do what I can.’ And then finally, at least for this current situation with these increased prices, [some say], you know what? I need to get some help. I need to reach out and get some food assistance.’”
Flood says the LA Regional Food Bank relies on community donations and purchases only 10% of the food it handles. Those interested can sign up to donate or volunteer online, or call 211 to get connected to local resources.