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Food banks grapple with inflation, high demand and low supply

Greater Lansing Food Bank photo
Kevin Lavery
The Greater Lansing Food Bank is seeing rising customer demand coupled with below average donation volume.

Food banks across Michigan are struggling to provide against a backdrop of high inflation, shipping problems and growing demand.

Greater Lansing Food Bank CEO Michelle Lantz says since August, her organization has tracked a 15 percent month over month increase in the number of households coming to local food distribution sites.

With inflation at its highest level in 40 years, the food bank is spending more to purchase its own food to fill in the gap left by below normal donation.

Supply chain issues also pose problems.

Lantz says shipping problems today rival those first seen at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What used to take just a couple of weeks after we’d place an order for a truckload of food is now taking two to three months, if we can get it in,” she said. “And that’s on the hopeful side if we can get it in.”

Lantz is asking the community to consider donating to those most economically distressed.

“So, if people can be even a little more generous when they can this year, it would be very much welcome so that we can take care of those who are really in more need now than ever,” Lantz said.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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