The Cold Truth of Food Insecurity

Posted on

Inflation has impacted the price of everything around us – food, rent, gas, and even electricity. With wages nowhere near meeting these rising costs, many who were already living paycheck to paycheck find themselves having to make tough choices this holiday season…a time when budgets naturally get a little tighter.

This is especially true for our neighbors on fixed incomes and those with kids home from school on winter break. No one should have to decide between feeding their family or heating their home. Or wonder whether they can pay for their medication and still cover rent. But far too many of our neighbors must make those kinds of decisions every day.

Last estimates reported that 289,000 Utahns are food insecure. Unfortunately, that number is likely higher because it reflects the decline we saw from 2020 to 2021. But our partner agencies and mobile pantries are seeing an increase in need that, in some cases, is higher than even in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Historic inflation, coupled with the end of programs aimed at helping families by providing relief during the pandemic, has created an environment where demand has risen significantly.

We are as committed as ever to continuing the fight against hunger statewide. Still, the increase in need plus the impact of inflation on our distribution costs means we need Utahns to join us in our mission year-round.

If you’d like to help, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference, below are just a few:

  • Inform—let your friends and followers know they can call 211 to find out about resources in their community.
  • Share—when you share Utah Food Bank’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you help spread the word about our mission.
  • Give Food—along with our usual drop-off locations, there are many opportunities this time of year to participate in the food drives hosted by businesses and organizations across the state as part of our Holiday Food & Fund Drive.
  • Give Time—volunteers are the heartbeat of Utah Food Bank! Last year, their work provided the equivalent of 75 full-time employees—we could not continue to distribute food free of charge across the state without this help.
  • Give Money—97 cents from each $1 donated goes directly to food and services, so whether you give a one-time gift or become a Monthly Meal Maker, you can be confident your money will go where it’s needed most.
  • Host a Fundraiser—our JustGiving Platform makes it easy for anyone to host a DIY Fund Drive. Why not make one part of your holiday party or family gathering?

With all of us working together, we can help make an impossible situation a little easier for our families, friends, and neighbors in communities across Utah experiencing hunger this holiday season.