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Inflation impacts local food pantries, causing ripple effect on communities

Despite food pantries struggling with food inflation, there's still a greater need in the community to be met.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Usually, the shelves are full at the Salvation Army Food Distribution Center in Hartford.

"It's been difficult to keep things in stock, and it's been difficult to order certain products," explained Major Migdalia Lavenbein, area services coordinator for Salvation Army of Greater Hartford. "And so it's just been a challenge to keep food on the shelves."

The pandemic's supply chain issues have made things on grocery lists harder to come by and more expensive. The Salvation Army explained that they noticed this months ago when trying to stay ahead of the demand. 

RELATED: US consumer prices soared 7% in past year, most since 1982

"You know the prices were already kind of astronomical even then, especially for a food pantry," said Lavenbein. 

Despite food pantries struggling with food inflation, there's still a greater need in the community to be met.  

"If food is expensive for us, you can imagine what it is for those who are struggling with food insecurity," explained Lavenbein.

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United Way of Connecticut explained that many people in the area have a limited income and are food insecure, making this inflation challenging for many. 

"The pandemic is ongoing," said Paula Gilberto, President, and CEO of the  United Way of Central Northeastern Connecticut. "People who were struggling before are struggling even more now. And as variants come into our community, it hits people hard." 

Gilberto said many of those families impacted are classified as ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. She explained that it represents a growing number of households in all of our communities that do not earn enough to afford basic necessities such as childcare, food, housing, health care, and transportation.

RELATED: Schools and programs prepared to provide food relief if COVID case uptick causes schools to go remote

Although the United Way pantries haven't experienced a significant inflation impact yet, they're working to provide community resources to those struggling to make ends meet. 

"We're connecting those individuals with community-based organizations that can help them with food and with utility assistance, and we're also connecting them with United Way 211," listed Gilberto.

It's one of the many ways the community is uniting to help. 

"We want to make sure that people leave here knowing that they're going to be okay," passionately explained Lavenbein. "Even despite the prices that are going up despite everything else that's going on in today's world that they're going to be all right."

If you are in need of assistance, call 2-1-1 or go online at www.211ct.org.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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