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As inflation holds steady, one Utah County food bank predicts a great need in 2023

On the Monday before Christmas, Shauna McKay queued and dequeued cars. Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry‘s Christmas dinner present. Families were able to stock up on ham, rolls, vegetables, desserts, and other necessities to prepare hot holiday meals.

Mackay is volunteer It’s in the Pantry’s American Fork location. She said it all started five years ago when she helped her food-poor neighbor.

“So I started by bringing her in and helping her put the groceries on the shelves when she was shopping. It makes a lot of sense to be able to do that,” he said. Mackay.

Now she regularly runs deli tables and volunteers where needed. During her volunteer work, she has seen an increase in people coming to the pantry for food.

“That number has skyrocketed. It’s the number of families we see every day. We used to see 35 families on Wednesday nights. I have,” McKay said.

The leader of Tabitha’s Way reflects that sentiment. The pantry is also located in Spanish Fork, where from 2021 she says it has increased by 51% and is providing food assistance to more than 1,000 people each week, a record number.

Tabitha’s Way Food Pantry will be hosting its annual Christmas Meal Giveaway on December 19, 2022 in American Fork, Utah.

Carla Smiththe community outreach coordinator for American Fork’s Tabitha’s Way Food Pantry, believes there could be more in 2023.

“many people [who] People who didn’t need to ask for help are now asking for help. And it’s hard for them to hurt their pride. But of course, we’re here to help them get through the tough times,” Smith said.

The role of the pandemic in US food insecurity

according to feeding america, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in unemployment and food insecurity. Fifty-three million people rely on food banks and community programs to get food, a need that has been protracted by rising inflation.

In its Food Security Update, published on 19 December, the World Bank said: Inflation Affects Families Worldwide, Reports This is because domestic food prices remain high.Locally, Feeding America said 288,970 Utahans face hunger, including 104,840 childrenAccording to the Utah Food Bank, There are seven food banks throughout Utah County, from Lehi to Spanish Fork..

Pleasant Grove City Mayor Guy Fugal He said Food Pantry is a great resource for families in Utah County to turn to in times of need.

“Inflation has had a huge impact on many of our families. We are delighted for those who are really in need,” Fugal said.

He added that this need “will continue into the new year and into this winter. I think the utility bills are going up, it’s all over and people just need to make a living and put it on the table.” I think,” he said.

But even as the need for help grows, Kara Smith wants people to know that help is available for those who need it.

“We are open four days a week, sometimes five days a week. We never turn our backs on anyone.”