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Inflation posing challenges for SLO Food Bank

Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-02 15:41:25-04

From gas prices to inflation, more pressures are being added to simply making ends meet. While the SLO Food Bank is there to help, even this non-profit isn’t immune to our current economic challenges.

The SLO Food Bank is driven by a simple mission statement, that “every human being has the right to nutritious food," but fulfilling that mission comes at a price.

“The SLO Food Bank serves all of SLO County and we do that by our staff going to about 60 different sites throughout the entire county every month and doing direct service distribution and then we have over 80 partner nonprofits that provide hunger relief across the county as well,” said Garret Olson, SLO Food Bank CEO.

The vast majority of the food bank’s funding comes from local donors

“Over a third of our donors give at a low level. It's very meaningful to them and we appreciate every dollar given, but those folks are themselves living closer to the edge and inflation is really impacting their ability to support us,” Olson said.

The last few years have put even more strain on the food bank's funding.

“Need for food in SLO County is accelerating again. It accelerated greatly during the pandemic and we hadn't recovered from the pandemic when food insecurity started to spike as inflation took effect earlier this year, so we are seeing month-over-month increases since inflation began at the beginning of the year. It has just been absolutely tragic and challenging,” Olson said. “As for the SLO Food Bank, inflation has really been a triple threat for us. More people are food insecure than were at the beginning of the year. The cost of food has escalated, which is impacting our clients but it is also impacting us. We are paying much more for the food we purchase.”

But the increasing demand isn’t being matched by increased assistance.

“So at the same time that food insecurity is escalating again, a lot of the programs to catch people are no longer there or they're set to expire and then we're paying more for food at this time, so there are… there are truly unique challenges of inflation, and to have it come on the heels of the pandemic for our community is just a crushing blow,” the CEO said.

But even with the challenges presented, the SLO Food Bank is still able to feed those in need. With their buying power and other federal assistance, the food bank is able to turn every dollar donated into $4 worth of food.

KSBY’s Season of Hope campaign also aims to help those in need across the Central and South coasts. For a list of needed items or information on how to donate, click here.