A New Jersey food bank was forced to shut its doors for the first time this week as rising demand and skyrocketing grocery costs left them out of options.
Americans crippled by inflation are returning to food banks around the U.S. with the hopes of feeding themselves and their families. But food banks say they’re struggling to provide relief amid the sudden surge in demand and soaring grocery costs.
Elissa Darrow, director of Angels Community Outreach in Piman, New Jersey, told Fox News that she was forced to temporarily close her food pantry for the first time ever after running out of food.
“In 13 years I’ve never had to close the pantry down,” Darrow said Tuesday on “America Reports.” “It’s hard. Everything costs more money. Families that were able to donate had the extra $30, $40 at the end of the month to buy extra groceries to donate to us, now they need the money to buy groceries for themselves,” she said. “We have senior citizens who are on fixed incomes and they now need to make that dollar stretch even further.”
Inflation hit a 40-year high in June at 9.1%, but food prices increased by 10.4%, according to the Department of Labor. Darrow said she regularly serves close to 150 people every week, but with a 40% increase in demand, she’s been struggling to keep up.
“I’ve had to turn away a lot of people, and it’s hard. It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “You have to tell a veteran or a senior citizen I can’t help you this month because we just don’t have food.”
As a measure of last resort for so many people, Darrow said she is “scared” about the future of the economy and whether she will be able to continue providing for those in need in her community.
“I’m scared it’s going to get worse,” she said. “The money we have as a non-profit to purchase food, if it’s not donated… we have a couple thousand dollars, it does not buy what it used to. I can’t feed as many families or as many people as I did. The cost is just astronomical now.”
Darrow said locals can help by making a financial donation at www.angelsoutreach.org or by dropping off grocery items at the food pantry.
“If you don’t live nearby,” she told viewers, “donate to your local pantry because everybody is suffering.”