by Lauren Solidum
Special to The Leaven
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Ps 107:9).
In Kansas, one in every 10 people is food insecure, meaning that they are unsure where their next meal will come from. This figure includes over 100,000 children. In a country like the United States, this information is hard to swallow — pun intended.
In the last year, Catholic Charities has experienced a 44% increase in food assistance to families. With your help, we provided $6,231,999 worth of food to fight hunger in our community!
Unfortunately, the battle to fight hunger is far from over. Food-insecure families and the pantries that provide help to them have been rocked by the rising costs of food due to inflation, continued supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and increased demand for food resources. Inflation has continued to surge now at an 8.5% annual pace since January.
As food costs rise, organizations like Catholic Charities experience two things: food donation shortages and increased costs from local food pantry suppliers. Due to lower donations, Catholic Charities and other local food pantries are forced to purchase, at higher prices, food from local and national food suppliers to ensure healthy options, equal quantities and culturally appropriate foods.
The rise in food prices disproportionately affects low-income households because these low-income households spend more of their overall income on food. The lowest 20% of wage earners spend roughly 27% of their income on food, whereas the highest income quintile spends only 7% of its income on food. The rising costs of food leave families with fewer financial reserves to absorb the increased expense.
Our food pantries are in urgent need of food. With the rising cost of groceries, supply chain issues and an increase of those accessing our food pantries, the demand to feed our neighbors in need is critical.
At a time when food pantry visitors need us the most, our pantry shelves are growing empty. All our food pantries are experiencing what we call a food drought. This summer, our donations were down almost 20%.
Can you help? If every family within the archdiocese picked up just one extra item during its trip to the grocery store, our pantries would have nearly 600,000 food items to share with our neighbors in need. This simple act of generosity makes an incredible impact.
Please share this call to action with your family and friends and visit the website at: catholiccharitiesks.org/food-drives/ for more information on the food drives happening near you, as well as the food items that our pantries need the most. Together, we can fight hunger one family at a time.