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Philadelphia Area Food Banks Battling Inflation, Rising Costs Amid War In Ukraine

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- People of all income levels are feeling the impact of inflation on their wallets. One of the big expenses is food.

The price of groceries has been on the rise in recent months with the crisis in Ukraine sending food prices even higher in the past two weeks. Now, the squeeze is being felt everywhere, from wallets to food banks serving those most in need.

Volunteers are hard at work packing non-perishable foods for seniors. In addition to families, food banks are learning how to cope with increased costs.

The Share Food Program has seen a 30-40% increase in grocery prices.

"Just like families at home, Share Food Program has to watch our wallet too and make sure that we're spending efficiently. We always go out and try to find product for free," Share Food Program Executive Director George Matysik said.

With dwindling food donations, feeding a million people each month means dipping into monetary reserves.

"If we're able to rescue more pounds of food we're able to really support our communities a little more. Just last month we were able to rescue over 620,000 pounds of food through our Philly Food Rescue Program," Share Food Program Deputy Chief Program Officer Kayla Brown said.

The increased cost of diesel gas seeps into the budget. It's a similar case over in Kensington at the Food Co-op, where the fuel delivery charge went from $10 last year...

"Early winter, they raised that up to $20 or $30. And then just this last delivery we got, it was a $40 fuel charge," Kensington Community Food Co-op Operations Manager Sterling Melcher said.

Add that to prices increased for over 800 products, including an $8 jump for maple syrup.

"The reality is that the customer just has to pay that much more for the product because we buy it at a certain price. Our margin isn't changing but because we buy it for a higher price, we have to charge it for a higher price," Melcher said.

With prices jumping across the board, the Kensington Community Food Co-op is considering only one delivery each week as opposed to two, in order to save customers from even higher prices.

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