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Food Shortage at Ohio Food Banks

From Cleveland Catholic Charities....

Beginning in March 2022, Foodbanks have experienced a rapid decline in incoming food.

The reasons are many and varied:

  • Federal foods have declined 52% with no relief for our current fiscal year (beginning July 1). Last fiscal year, this decline equaled a staggering 3.3million pounds of food.
  • Food donations have decreased across the board with a dramatic drop-off in donations from retail stores who provide a crucial source of protein through their donations of retail poultry, beef, and pork.
  • Manufacturer donations are down due to facility shutdowns and supply chain problems ranging from staffing to aluminum, paper, and plastic shortages.  Supply chain issues are also causing extended lead times from suppliers, often without notice, making it challenging to plan. Typically, food orders arrive in approx. 14 days; current lead times are 6-8 weeks or more.
  • Shipping costs for incoming product have tripled with shortages of CDL drivers and rapidly increasing diesel fuel costs.
  • The avain flu outbreak has already killed 40.1million chickens & turkeys across 38 states and is pushing the cost of poultry as well as the egg market.  Eggs are typically a source of low-cost, high-quality protein for families. Since pre-pandemic, prices of eggs have nearly doubled from an average of $1.50/doz. to $3.00/doz.
  • Farmers and growers are reporting double and triple the input costs for seed and fertilizer. The main fertilizer ingredient comes from both Russia and Ukraine.  The cost of food and commodity crops is anticipated to increase this fall due to higher input costs.
  • Food inflation limits our ability to bring in food with a 16% increase from last year.

The bottom line is Foodbanks need more food because the need for emergency food assistance through food pantries remains 35-40% higher than pre-pandemic. More families seek help because of high fuel costs, higher rents, and rising food costs. Seeing the rapidly deteriorating situation with incoming food, the Ohio Association of Food Banks issued a request to Gov. DeWine for emergency funding for the 12 foodbanks in Ohio for $50million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These funds would be used to purchase food and non-food items.

There has been no movement in Columbus regarding the request.  Our state legislators need to hear from us to help them understand why their work is critical to our community.

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