Rising inflation and threats of an impending recession have had a trickle-down impact on food banks experiencing shortages of donations during the holiday season.
Roadrunner Food Bank director of communications, Sonya Warwick, said rising food budgets have been difficult on everyone. “Just like people that we serve who are in our food lines across the state, they are definitely feeling the pinch in terms of the amount of money and how far that goes for them each month if they have a budget at all to spend on food,” Warwick told KOAT. “It’s the same for the food bank. We’ve seen huge increases all across the past three years and that hasn’t been any different this year,”
Warwick said rising prices have led to such things as “150% cost increases for a case of peanut butter and almost 200% cost increases for soup.”
Availability is limited. “We have set aside a larger budget for food purchases, but there hasn’t been a lot of availability in the types of food we can get right now,” Warwick said. “We were distributing a record amount of food in the first year of the pandemic because we had more federal food available to our network that has all disappeared.”
Warwick said despite the shortages there’s still enough food to supply those in need during this time. “We’re grateful for the support that the community gives us, and the fact that they’re investing in our mission,” Warwick said. “It allows us the flexibility to do what we need to do to make sure we’re either purchasing more food or trying to get more donated loads, if and when those return to what we’ve seen in the past.
The food bank is especially appreciative of its donors in times like this. “Our work is only possible because we have people who raise their hands and come here to volunteer, or donors who are wanting to make a gift to the food bank, or people who recognize like, hey, I’ve got some extra food this month, I’m just going to take it down there and give,” she said
Donations are accepted Monday through Saturday at Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Any donation made to the Roadrunner Food Bank through the month of December will be matched by three donors. Officials said donors will match contributions up to $135,000.