With inflation at a 40-year high, families are struggling to pay for basic necessities like eggs, milk, bread, and fuel. We’re seeing more community members seeking food assistance to stretch their budgets further each month. Our monthly food distribution volume in March was 34% more than pre-COVID-19 levels. We saw this dip and then increase again based on fluctuations in the pandemic and the increase in inflation. Currently, we are distributing enough food to provide upwards of 175,000 meals every day.
Food Bank of the Rockies is doing its best to meet this increased demand. In March and April of this year, we spent more than $1.3 million to purchase food, more than three-times as much as we were spending in 2019. However, we are facing a number of challenges and adapting our operations accordingly to offer the best service possible to our partners and communities.
We have seen a decrease in donated food products. But an even larger concern is that due to shifts in manufacturing practices, the variety of donated foods we are able to procure and distribute has decreased. This is due to a global supply chain shift and limited innovations in manufacturing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers are our main source of large-scale donations, so this continues to impact our operations.
And the cost of basic goods like eggs, spaghetti, vegetable oil, and meat of all types has increased dramatically, which means we are depending more than ever on food and monetary donations to help us get enough food out the door to help our communities. In addition, year-over-year our freight costs have increased — some months as high as 60% — which has added to the overall cost for trucking donated and purchased products to our distribution center and partners.
Food Bank of the Rockies is adapting to these times by:
- Picking up and delivering donations as soon as they become available
- Working with food banks across the country to leverage overstocked items
- Purchasing more goods to continue providing an array of nutritious foods
- Proactively buying larger quantities to account for shortages or delivery delays
- Providing fresh produce at no cost to our Hunger Relief Partners
- Distributing the 2,000-4,000 lbs. of donated baby formula we receive each month at our 45th Avenue Distribution Center to area Hunger Relief Partners so that they can get it to families who need it
As we weather these difficult times together, Food Bank of the Rockies is committed to showing up wherever and whenever we are needed most. We deeply appreciate your support and patience. If you are in need of food assistance, please check out our food pantry locator to find a food distribution site near you. If you have the financial means or time, consider giving a financial gift or volunteering. Community support ensures that everyone has the resources they need to thrive.