Supply chain concerns, increasing inflation place burden on food shelves

Supply chain challenges and increasing inflation rates are impacting local food shelves that are experiencing higher demand.

According to Second Harvest Heartland, that demand is up about 20% while pressures from the pandemic expand.

“We see prices going up, we see delivery delays,” Allison O’Toole, Second Harvest Heartland’s chief executive officer, said. “The delay impacts our ability to provide a variety of food,” O’Toole added.

Second Harvest Heartland collects and distributes to food shelves all over Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. As it deals with these difficulties, so do the food shelves it serves and the families in need.

“We are still sourcing and distributing millions of pounds of food here, so no one’s going to go short — it just means we need more help to do that,” O’Toole said about the needed donations and cash contributions from the public.

O’Toole says Second Harvest Heartland can stretch a dollar a lot further than people can at the grocery store. She also said they’re having to purchase all their protein – a big part of their operation – as meat donations have stopped recently.

As for the rise in inflation, the food bank says food prices are up about 5% across the board and it’s currently paying 25% more for ground beef.

CAPI USA — a north metro organization that supports immigrants, refugees, people of color and low-income communities — has a food shelf that works with Second Harvest Heartland.

CAPI USA’s manager of basic needs, Paul Andrighetti, says they’re continuing to see an increase in demand.

Andrighetti says the supply chain issue specifically is impacting their clients by limiting their supply of culturally specific food — something he says is very important for the families they serve.

“They’re just having to either deal with having less of that food and find other things to make do or end up having to pay more out of pocket when they do shop,” Andrighetti said. “And that can be difficult, if not impossible for many of our clients.”

Both organizations — Second Harvest Heartland and CAPI USA — say they can’t face these challenges alone. Donations and volunteers are always greatly appreciated.

Get involved at Second Harvest Heartland or CAPI USA.