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Food pantries feel the effects of rising food costs

Between the pandemic, inflation, and the possibility of a recession-- the shelves are nearly empty.

HARTFORD, Conn. — As inflation rises, families, especially low-income families, feel the impact of growing food and grocery costs, which has a ripple effect on food pantries.

One pantry is the one inside Hartford Neighborhood Center, which has been around since the 1980s. Throughout the years, it has tripled in size to fit the community's needs. However, the pantry staff recently said it's been difficult. 

"We're seeing that families need food more often," explained Nyasia Mercer-Long.

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And it significantly impacted the pantry. 

"It's been kind of a little slow, not with clients, but as you can see, we're running out of food," said Evelyn Hernandez. 

Between the pandemic, inflation, and the possibility of a recession-- the shelves are nearly empty.

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"not only are we feeling it ourselves, but our pantry is filling it, and our clients are feeling it," said Mercer-Long

Mercer-Long and Hernandez said a dollar doesn't go as far anymore, even for those with benefits.  

"it's not enough for them to last through the month," said Mercer-Long, "So, here we like to provide enough food for them to help their snap benefits stretch. "

Located in a predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhood, the Hartford Neighborhood Center food pantry works to get food that matches the community's needs. 

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Hernandez said since May, they've seen a 50-percent increase in clients. So they are serving as a reminder that though funds are low for many, including the pantry, the needs are still significant. 

"We've had to limit how much was able to give on a monthly basis just to make sure we have enough inventory to provide for everyone who wants to come," said Mercer-Long

"We can provide some things to them so they can hold them for a couple of days," said Hernandez. 

For information about the Hartford Neighborhood Center Food Pantry, email Hernandez at ehernandez@hnci.org. For more information about the organization, CLICK HERE

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