LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) -Every year 6 news takes $10 to the grocery store to show you just how valuable a money donation is to local food banks, versus actual donated items, but as 6 News has found out, inflation is deflating buying power.
When we showed up, it was another super busy December day at the Greater Lansing Food Bank, filled with trying to feed thousands of needy Mid-Michiganders.
It’s always hard a hard task to do, but Kelly Miller, director of philanthropy with the food bank says, 2022 has been the toughest.
“It has been. It’s the supply chain, it’s lower donations, but we’re purchasing more food than we ever have before and it’s costing us more, even at the food bank.”
A perfect example of how tough it’s been is that every year at WLNS-TV, we’ve taken $10 to a grocery store and tried to stretch it as far as possible, then compare what we got with what the Greater Lansing Food Bank can do with that same amount of money.
It’s always eye-popping, year after year to see the large disparity, but this holiday season, the shocking difference is when you compare what food bank officials can now get with $10 when compared to the recent past.
“Usually it’s this entire table,” says Miller. “And now it’s about a third and that is due to inflation.”
In addition, tall aisles designated for USDA food donations are mostly empty due to supply chain issues and it’s directly forcing the food bank to buy more food in 2022, in fact, that’s up 56%.
Plus, with grocery store prices higher, it’s causing the need from the community to grow as well.
“We’ve been seeing it steadily increase in 2022,” says Miller. “The number of families coming to need services, about a 25% increase in families coming to our pantry network.”
That’s why when thinking about helping this season, anything you can do is greatly appreciated, especially now. But ideally, money is the best choice, because, despite the inflation setback, a food bank’s buying power is much better than ours.
“We can make $10 really get stretched,” says Miller. “We can put it where it’s needed so if we need some peanut butter or we need some mac n’ cheese, we can put that money towards those items and make sure that is still available.”