Local Food Pantries Struggle with Rise in Food Prices, Shortages

"All of a sudden now we're seeing that increase. It's up 50% from last year." Mary Stanton Executive Director Leelanau Christian Neighbors

With food prices rising and a recent shortage in baby formula, local food pantries have been put to the test.

“Parents are having a very hard time especially when their babies may be on something special,” says Mary Stanton, Executive Director of Leelanau Christian Neighbors.

Inflation and the cost of consumer goods has hit a 40-year high. The recent shortage in baby formula has local food pantries noticing the difference.

“Not only are we feeling the impact of the rise in prices. It’s primarily for those that families need,” says Candice Hamel, Executive Director of the Father Fred Foundation.

Hamel says the cost of eggs are up a dollar over what they use to pay. With prices rising, it’s resulted in more people looking to food pantries for help.

“We’re seeing a rise in guests coming for pantry items, because it’s costing them more to purchase things on their own. Their dollars or food benefits aren’t going nearly as far,” Hamel states.

Due to a lack of supply, retailers across the U.S. last month reported almost 30% of the top selling baby formula was out of stock. In response, drug store chains like CVS and Walgreens have began limiting how much baby formula customers can purchase at one time.

“It’s difficult because they’ll come in and say, ‘I can only use this kind of formula’ or something, but we’reBaby Formula experiencing the same thing. If we go to any of the big retail shops or big box stores. We’re experiencing the same thing. Limit three, limit six,” Hamel explains.

Leelanau Christian Neighbors has seen a 50 percent increase in people using their pantry this year. Father Fred’s in Traverse City has seen the same increase. They say the shortages and increases puts them in a difficult situation. As prices rise and shortages continue, it makes it more challenging for pantries to get items they need. At the same time, when prices rise more people use the pantries.

“It’s kind of a double impact. The good thing is, we can continue to serve anybody who needs food,” Hamel says.

The recent halting of production at a baby formula factory in Michigan has added to the struggles. However, local food pantries like Father Fred and Leelanau Christian Neighbor say that no matter what happens, they’ll be there for people in need.

“We’ve been here for 35 years, we’re going to be here for 35 more years. We’re going to be here with open doors and open arms for anybody who needs us,” Stanton states.