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Hunger Beat

Food prices remain a challenge

People ask us all the time: how are you faring in this economy? For the past few years, we've been able to say that we've fared well--because of the generosity of Chicagoans we have been able to distribute more food. This year, though, the answer is different. It's a challenge to keep up with demand.

Global food prices hit an all-time high in 2011. We see that impact every day, in three ways:

  • More individuals and families are turning to us because their grocery budgets are strained.
  • Sources of government food have declined as dollars just don't go as far as they once did.
  • It's more expensive for us to purchase food.

The number of people we serve remains as high as ever. It's just becoming more challenging to keep pantry shelves stocked. We've distributed nearly 4 million fewer pounds of "USDA" food this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided much more last year when prices weren't as high. We can purchase more food, but that only goes so far. The cost of peanut butter alone has nearly doubled in one year.

The result is further pressure on everything we do. We were so fortunate to see a great response from Chicagoans this holiday season. But the need persists. You can get involved by organizing a food drive, volunteering, advocating or making a financial contribution. You can help us--and more important, hungry people--fare well.

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