The last time we showed readers the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) was nearly two years ago, during the early days of the virus pandemic, when thousands of hungry and unemployed lined up in their vehicles to receive care packages. Now demand for food banks is surging, but for different reasons, as household finances are crushed by inflation and can barely afford essential items at supermarkets.
Trisha Cunningham, CEO of NTFB, told CBS News that demand for her food bank "is worse than a couple of years ago -- we are serving now at higher levels than we even did at the peak of the pandemic."
While inflation has begun to cool, food prices remain high, making it difficult for many families to afford even basic groceries. Food banks across the country are feeling the impact of high prices, with long lines and new faces as more families struggle to make ends meet. pic.twitter.com/HdFNFK1y9e— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 29, 2022
The overwhelming answer that CBS found of why people are lining up at the food bank is "that they can't afford groceries."
One person told CBS, "it's just the basics: flour, sugar, egg, and milk" prices that have spiraled out of control, adding, "we don't buy cookies and cakes because we don't have that luxury anymore."
CBS pointed out that 53 million Americans relied on food banks in 2021, compared to 40 million in 2019, which means a whopping 13 million new Americans can't afford essential items at supermarkets.
None of this comes as a surprise as consumers, mainly on the lower tier, have drained savings and maxed out credit cards to survive the highest inflation in forty years.
A slew of retailers warned that lower-income consumers aren't in great shape this summer despite the Biden administration touting that everything is wonderful ahead of the midterm elections in November.
The latest consumer sentiment is at record lows because lower-income consumers have fewer resources to buffer against inflation.
Food banks are back and could see even more demand as the Federal Reserve's most aggressive monetary tightening in decades will cause the unemployment rate to climb.