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Food Bank of CNY seeing the community’s need return to pandemic levels

Monday, November 13, 2023

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The holiday season is fast approaching and the Food Bank of Central New York is seeing this community’s need return to pandemic-era levels. But you can help change that.

While many of us are planning our Thanksgiving meal, and feeling the pinch of rising prices, there’s a growing number of people who can’t afford a trip to the grocery store.

The Food Bank of Central New York says it started seeing a spike in demand long before this month.

“For the first quarter of the 23-24 fiscal year we distributed 5.2 million pounds. October we distributed 2.1 million pounds. So we’re at 7.3 million just for the first four months of this fiscal year,” said Karen Belcher, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Central New York.

Last month’s 2.1 million is something the food bank hasn’t seen in more than three years. The reason? There are several factors.

“Pandemic benefits that were in place have been eliminated. So individuals and families aren’t getting those extra SNAP benefits,” said Belcher.

Those benefits including the ones children were getting during the pandemic, which expired back in March.

“And it’s in correlation to the fact that there’s increase food costs, increased transportation, housing. There’s no housing, so we also having the housing shortage that’s playing into this as well,” said Belcher.

With the winter on the way, the Food Bank of Central New York anticipates an even greater demand.

“It really comes down to that decision, do I buy food or pay my utility bill, do I pay for my rent or do I purchase food,” explained Belcher.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and the food bank needs your help.

“We need donations more than ever and we need more donations than we’ve needed in the past to ensure that we have the food here,” said Belcher.

Ensuring no family goes hungry.

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