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Struggling Food Banks

For food banks and other services providing food and meals to those in need, officials say the struggle is “increasing” in trying to provide for what’s being asked for and that struggle doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon.

Anybody who’s been in a grocery store lately has probably had some form of sticker shock with rising prices.

Increasing product and operational costs have been passed on to consumers.

For organizations providing food assistance, just getting enough food is one growing problem.

There’s been cutbacks in state and federal programs, and new federal budget priorities could cut some from the SNAP program where financial assistance grants to pay food costs for those in need have already been cut in recent months.

For the providers, the need is increasing, and in many cases, resources are declining.

“The sad part of everything that was going is we went from a big swing to getting food out to what I called middle America. The people who were working, who were struggling because of inflation and things like that. We’re now seeing that some of our suppliers we were getting food from are shutting down fifty percent of their operation.”

Self-sustainability and food resource education are two parts of a program we’ve been following for nearly a year now with the Centre County YMCA anti-hunger program’s farm project.

The project focuses on getting back to nature and teaching folks, including the younger generation, the finer points of growing your own food.

“Some of these folks haven’t even gardened before, so I think it’s all new to them. We’ve got some kids out here and they’re loving it. Hopefully we get more kids to learn because we don’t want it to be a dying thing.”

One of the goals is that some of the crops eventually grown here will end up supplying the YMCA’s many food distribution programs.

“Right now, we’re doing an excess of 330 home food deliveries every week. We’ve got to start to look at what we can do economically with the food we get in. So, we’ve got some really tough decisions to make.”

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