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Economy

San Diego Food Bank deals with rising food costs

Since the pandemic started, many people have relied on local food banks to help feed their families. But now food banks are facing a crisis of their own.

“We’re seeing food prices skyrocket here. It’s just really shocking how fast prices have risen,” said Chris Carter, vice president of development and communications for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. “A lot of families are still recovering from the financial impacts of the pandemic. They have a high level of household debt that is going to take a long time to pay off and we now have food price inflation at a 13 year high.”

Compared to 2020, the Consumer Price Index for all food has increased an average of 3%.

“We purchase produce on the wholesale food market. The price of that and other goods per pound has gone up from 12 cents per pound to around 18 cents per pound,” Carter said. “So, that’s a 50% increase in the price of food.”

With the upcoming holiday season, the food bank has had to allot more money to be able to help families.

“For the holidays, we normally spend about $100,000 dollars on the purchase of turkeys. This year we’re having to spend double that, $200,000 on the purchase of turkeys, and that’s not actually going to yield any more turkeys than last year," Carter said. "That’s just so we can maintain the same amount of supply that we received last year.”

Unfortunately, food prices may continue to rise.

“We’re being told that times are tough now, just wait, it’s going to get tougher because the drought is going to be impacting the harvest and the crops and what we’re expecting to come through the pipeline,” he said.

Carter said the community can help.

“We really need support now, especially with food prices going up so much. For the community to donate more food with a physical food drive, but we also have virtual food drive technology, so you can donate from the comfort of your computer,” he said.

The foodbank currently helps around 550,000 people a month and every dollar donated provides five meals to someone in need.