More Northern Nevadans counting on food pantries to eat as grocery prices soar

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Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 11:58 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Catholic Charities’ food pantry has seen increased need rise into the new year as grocery prices surge.

Last year, the cost to buy groceries went up five percent, and although the U.S Department of Agriculture projects price increases will ease, items like meat and dairy will remain higher than normal for quite some time.

“Over the summer we were seeing six to seven thousand households on a monthly basis,” said Mari Baxter, CEO of Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada (CCNN). “We’re now pushing 11,000 households and families that are coming in, starting about October, November, December…. And those numbers actually continuing to go up even through January.”

The Food Bank of Northern Nevada (FBNN) partners with more than 150 agencies across the area, including CCNN, and says the demand is high across the board.

“We are told by many of the families that we serve that they’re really struggling to pay their bills, you know,” said Jocelyn Lantrip, director of marketing at FBNN. “Rent is high, food costs are high, gas is high and really the one thing in your budget that you can buy less of is food, and unfortunately that’s what many people do.”

Baxter says inflation has not only driven people to the pantries, but more have become reliant on their dining room.

“Food is just so expensive and people are really struggling and we’re glad to be able to, you known, help them with the things they need here so they can make their rent and you know, put gas on the car that gets them to work,” said Baxter.

Although these nonprofits have become the aid of so many, they have not been immune to price hikes.

“We transport food all over Nothern Nevada and even into the northern part of California,” said Lantrip. “So when fuel costs rise it absolutely affects us and when food costs rise it affects us. So, keeping ahead of those items has been an issue for us.”

FBNN and CCNN continue to experience supply shortages, but planning ahead, surplus and continued support from donors has helped them not run out of food through the pandemic.

However, the need for volunteers remains.

Over the last few weeks, we have reduced some of the sizes of our indoor sessions and you know that does affect us,” said Lantrip. “We’ve had some issues recruiting volunteers, enough to get the job done and that’s typically for the beginning of the year.”

The nonprofits have also seen an increase in more people signing up for other programs like harvest and workforce.

To donate your time or money, visit the agencies social media pages and website.



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