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Inflating Prices Increasing Need For Donations To New Jersey Food Pantries

DUMONT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- You've likely noticed the prices of gas and groceries are going up.

Food banks are feeling the impact of inflation, too. It's affecting donations ahead of the holidays, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported Monday.

On Monday, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey distributed 2,000 boxes of food in Dumont to help with Thanksgiving meals. Food banks were already seeing huge demand during the pandemic, but inflation has exacerbated the need.

"It's making it harder not just for families to put food on the table with inflation five to 10 percent higher in our area for food cost alone," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

U.S. consumer prices jumped 6.2 percent in October - the highest inflation surge in 30 years.

The price of beef is up 20 percent at grocery stores.

"Meats have gone up. Turkeys have gone up, they're like $10 more than they were last year, maybe even more than that, too. I was thinking maybe I'll buy just buy a big chicken this year," said David George.

"Groceries are up. I'm on a pension and my pensions not going up," said Eddie Kochakji.

Customers are also feeling the pinch with rent, utilities and apparel. The price of gasoline has nearly doubled since last year.

"I'm supposed to put super in my car, but with these gas prices I'm putting in regular," said Andrew LaMarque.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called on the feds to tap into the National Strategic Petroleum Reserve to provide relief at the pump.

President Joe Biden said the $1 trillion infrastructure package will ease supply bottlenecks.

Experts said ongoing supply chain issues and labor shortages fueled by the pandemic are driving up prices and making items harder to find.

"We're still waiting for things like trucks because of the chip shortage that we've been waiting for over a year," Rodriguez said.

The Federal Reserve is considering measures like raising benchmark interest rates to curb inflation.

The Bergen County Food Security Task Force said, while prices are rising, donations are declining.

"Most people think the pandemic is over, we can move on. But we are still seeing that same level of need. Our pantries are actually seeing an increase in need," said County Commissioner Tracy Zur.

Food banks are urging people who can to give, especially ahead of the holidays.


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