From supply-chain issues to rising food costs, local food shelves are navigating a sea of obstacles in gathering enough supplies for those needing help.
Iowa locations say to meet the nutritional needs of clients, the public could help in a variety of ways. The Food Bank of Siouxland, which covers several counties in northwestern Iowa, said demand has picked up again after leveling off earlier this year.
Jake Wanderscheid, executive director of the Food Bank, said it comes at a time when on the purchasing side, it hasn’t been as easy to stock their shelves with certain items. “Our last purchase, we were able to get as many soups as we wanted, but we’re having trouble finding canned fruit,” Wanderscheid recounted. “A month ago, it was a hard time finding variety in vegetables.”
And when they do have success in finding products, the cost is 10% to 20% higher. The organization said the public can help by donating financially, providing more flexibility in targeting missing items.
The American Heart Association noted if underserved communities don’t have access to nutrition, residents are at greater risk for obesity, heart disease, and poor mental health.
Patty Sneddon-Kisting, executive director of the Urbandale Food Pantry, said at this stage of the pandemic, they are still seeing 60 new families each month. She pointed out when it comes to community donations, the pandemic is still limiting local food drives, and added there are ways innovation can be very helpful. “Doing wish lists on Amazon, and having people purchase items and send them here,” Sneddon-Kisting suggested. She recommended calling ahead to ask what your local food shelf needs. Volunteer work is also encouraged to help sort donations. As households struggle with higher grocery bills, food shelves anticipate more needs, especially with the holiday season taking shape.
Sneddon-Kisting emphasized they have had to be more mindful with their budget amid the rising costs of turkeys, creating more dilemmas in meeting the need this time of year.