HOUSTON — The largest food bank in the country is dealing with demand that’s up more than 30% from June 2021 to June 2022.
Houston Food Bank services 18 Southeast Texas counties, but the problem is nationwide.
The line of people ran down the block at a recent food distribution event outside of Los Angeles. Diane Martinez is a senior on a fixed budget and came to get food because she can't afford to buy it on her own.
"The prices of food are so high and they're going up higher every day," Martinez said.
Inflation has more people looking for help. Food banks saw a big jump in demand during the pandemic but were hoping for a change this year.
"For 2022, we were expecting things to really start sliding down in terms of the demand for food assistance. But really with the inflation hit, we saw another upsurge," Michael Flood, CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, said.
Prices at the grocery store are up more than 12% compared to last year.
In one Chicago neighborhood, it's not just high prices that are a problem, there's also a lack of affordable grocery stores in the area. That's part of the reason around 250 people came to a recent pop-up pantry event.
"I'm really blessed, and the people of this community are really blessed really for this to be going on," Jimmy King Jr., who came to get food, said.
"Families are making these decisions between filling their gas tank to get to work, paying the rent, paying utilities, other basic expenses, and meeting their food costs," Flood said.
Higher costs and an influx of people to feed has many charities struggling. Food banks everywhere are looking for more donations so they can continue to help everyone in need.
One way the Houston Food Bank is getting donations is through its annual Houston Restaurant Weeks. From now through Sept. 5, hundreds of restaurants participate by offering multi-courses for a fixed price.
A portion of your bill will go to the Houston Food Bank. To see the restaurants participating, go to Houston Restaurant Weeks | Restaurant Specials.