Food Bank of Northern Nevada officials said increasing demand for assistance is creating an urgent need for food donations in its service region. The nonprofit is hosting a drive-through food drive – a style of event often reserved for the holiday season – outside of Scheels in Sparks on April 15 to help meet that need.
“The Food Bank of Northern Nevada has seen tremendous increases in the need for food services since the beginning of the pandemic,” FBNN’s Jocelyn Lantrip said. “In 2019, the organization was helping approximately 91,000 people per month. That number has risen to an average of 115,000 people per month.”
In March 2020 at the onset of pandemic closures the food bank reported an increase in demand of about 30% at most of its distribution sites. This was attributed to job losses and business closures.
Now, rising food costs might be to blame for high demand.
In late March the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that inflation was driving up the cost of food purchased at grocery stores, labeled food-at-home by economists, at a rate higher than the overall inflation rate. This includes costs for things such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and cereals.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to measure economy-wide inflation. From January to February the food-at-home CPI increased by 1.4% while the all-items CPI increased .9%. Between February 2021 and February 2022 the food-at-home CPI has increased by 8.6% while all-items CPI has increased by 7.9%.
Eating out has also gotten more expensive, with prices up around .4% from January to February and about 6.8% in the past year.
USDA analysts also say food prices are expected to continue rising with a predicted increase of 3%-4% this year for food-at-home and 5.5%-6.5% for eating out.
Lantrip said there are four categories of non-perishable canned food that are most needed by families served by FBNN. Those include entrees such as chili or soup; proteins such as tuna, chicken or beans; water-packed canned fruit; and low-sodium canned vegetables.
The drive-through food drive is from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, April 15 at the main entrance of Scheels at 1200 Scheels Drive in Sparks. FBNN said they’ll have volunteers on hand to unload food directly from cars so donors can just drive through.
Those who are unable to attend the food drive can also make a monetary donation by texting FeedNV and a dollar amount to 50155.