Food pantries face inflation, supply chain issues and shortages ahead of Thanksgiving

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Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 11:45 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - This year’s Thanksgiving feast will hit the wallets of many families. The American Farm Bureau Federation says many will likely pay five percent more for most groceries.

As food prices climb, more people will likely rely on food pantries like Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.

“We’re already starting to see increases in our numbers,” said Marie Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities. ”Particularly with our Feeding Families program through the holidays, registrations filling up quickly, even our Operation Stocking Stuffer, we saw that filled up in less than 24 hours, there are a lot of people reaching out for help.”

However, the nonprofit has not been immune to price hikes and supply chain issues.

In preparation for their Feeding Families holiday baskets, the nonprofit placed many orders back in July, but some of those items are still delayed.

“Not everything is here in the building, but we anticipate by the time we do that distribution we’ll have everything,” said Baxter.

Catholic Charities says they’ve seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in all food items, which is a tough pill to swallow for the 31 food pantries they serve.

“Certainly, the rural communities, where they have even fewer resources,” said Baxter. ”They don’t have grocery stores and they don’t have the same access that we have in our metropolitan areas. They are really struggling to acquire food so our shipment of things that we’re sending out there are very critical.”

Baxter adds that sending trucks to those areas has become more expensive due to fuel costs and driver shortages.

The nonprofit has also had issues finding certain items for its St. Vincent’s Dining Room. Specifically, spices, peanut butter and disposable silverware.

One of Catholic Charities’ donors is the Food Bank of Northern Nevada (FBNN), where demand for emergency food services remains high.

“We are helping more than 107,000 people each month on average, which is 4,000 higher than we saw during the great recession,” said Jocelyn Lantrip, Director of Marketing and Communication at Food Bank of Northern Nevada. “The cost of living is an issue in our area. Rents, housing, very high. Also food is high so, you know, people have so many bills they have to pay and food unfortunately is that one variable that people can buy less of.

Throughout the pandemic, the FBNN has also experienced supply chain issues and therefore, gave themselves a much larger lead time than past holidays.

“What we had to do is plan better,” said Lantrip. “Usually you can get a product in the door in a month, now we know, we need to give ourselves two to three months.”

While private donations have continued to come in, Catholic Charities has seen fewer walk-in donations, but hope those will start coming in more as the holiday spirit kicks in.

The FBNN will have a holiday meal distribution Saturday, November 20 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Meals can be picked up at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa (west parking lot) or Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.

Quantities are limited so pre-registration is required. To register click here.

To contact Catholic Charities, call (775) 786-5266 or email:

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