A food bank serving the Denver Metro area says it may have to reduce services due to rising prices and increased demand.
The USDA expects the cost of food to rise even more in 2023, putting a strain on families and the food banks that serve them.
The aisles at Integrated Family Community Services look more like a grocery store than a food bank.
IFCS serves a diverse community by providing fresh ingredients, as clients are able to cook healthy meals tailored to their family needs.
IFCS gets steep discounts by bulk buying meat and produce from local partners.
They offer boxes of food for free, but they're feeling the impact of inflation.
"We were once able to buy a box of eggs for $15. Now that price is $94. We are going to have to make tough choices. Are we going to continue to provide that nutritious food or are we going to have to cut back?" said Allison Taggart, Program Director at IFCS.
IFCS serves 100 families every day as the number of people in need soared in recent months.
Taggart says 25% of clients are new to the food pantry and have never received assistance before.
"Hunger is affecting everyone in our community. We're seeing people who were once donors to IFCS coming to our door because they need food," Taggart said.
Families are able to grab a box of groceries filled with non-perishable items, fruits, vegetables and meat every week. Some families come more often and IFCS doesn't turn them away.
Due to rising costs, Taggart says that frequency could likely shrink to once every month.
"We've been running the numbers and agonizing over every single one. The only thing we can find is if we cut back to once a month, we will ensure that we have enough food for everyone coming in," Taggart explained.
She added, "Looking at someone face to face and saying we're unable to provide you with the food you need is heartbreaking."
Pandemic funding helped bring in close to $30,000 worth of food every month. She says the budget could get cut in half.
Taggart dreads telling her regulars she'll have to see them less often, but for now, it's a compromise to help the most people
"Anything else is too risky," Taggart said. "Closing halfway through the month if we run out of food is another reality we just can't see come."
IFCS says they have plenty of canned food, like corn and green beans available to those in need.
What the organization need from the community are monetary donations so they can continue to purchase fresh meats and produce for families.
To donate visit: https://bit.ly/3jD3XNu
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