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Inflation hits Manatee County food banks hard

Manatee County Food banks have been hit hard
Manatee County Food banks have been hit hard(WWSB)
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:37 PM EST
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - As inflation continues to climb, many are finding life unaffordable.

To get by, some families are reaching out for help, but, those places that offer assistance are also feeling the pinch. One of those organizations is the Manatee Food Bank, which distributes food to more than 80-pantries around the Manatee County.

”We are seeing a rise in the cost of food, cost of gas and increase in rent,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee County. “All those factors are hitting those who rely on pantries.  So, our distributions are going out the door as soon as we get it in.”

Phillips oversees the Manatee Food Bank. She said their shelves are empty right now.

”January, February and March, those are the hardest times,” said Phillips.  “With this inflationary situation, we need people to help with a food drive, and food donations more than ever.”

Those who volunteer at the local food pantries are seeing the issue firsthand.

”The biggest struggle I’m having with inflation right now is finding food,” said Lori Racky, who runs the Food Pantry at Parrish United Methodist Church.  “The grocery stores are running short on food because of supply chain issues and that means there is less food being given to our partner agencies.”

This is hurting those who rely on the help.

”I either pay my electric bill or buy food,” said Tiffany Mondo, a mother of three. “Which one am I going to do?”

Mondo said she and her family have fallen on tough times recently and she is visiting the local food pantry in Parrish to make sure her three children are able to eat. She says without this help, her family will be in trouble.

Volunteers at the food pantry at Parrish United Methodist Church help around 250-families every time they give out food. They said they never want to turn anyone away and are always working hard to make sure they get food to feed their needy families. The families they are helping say they are thankful.

”I thank them for their work and their caring,” said Jeanne Buckstein.  She gets food for her son’s family who is going through a difficult time.

”I’m so grateful for the food bank and for anyone who donated,” said Mondo.  “It’s life changing.”

If you’d like to donate food or money to the Manatee Food Bank, or if you need assistance finding a food pantry, visit: www.mealsonwheelsplus.org.  To donate, click on find food, and then click on food drives.  To help donate, click on the donate tab.

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