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Heartland food banks, pantries see more people coming in for food

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Food banks and pantries here in the Heartland feel the impact of higher food costs, but that’s not the only challenge they’re facing.

More people are coming in needing food.

The chief advancement officer at the Southeast Missouri Food Bank said in the In the last three months, it served about 82,000 people. That’s up from 70,000 recorded in the first four months of 2021.

One food pantry in Cape Girardeau sees the increase too.

”It’s been really busy around here,” Joshua Smith said.

Joshua Smith helps out at the Red Door Food Pantry, which serves folks in downtown Cape Girardeau.

He said it’s a challenge to keep the shelves full.

“This month already, just in the first week of November, we have already served close to 30 individuals so if the trend holds, we’re going to be serving quite a few people by the end of the month,” Smith said.

Smith said that’s a big increase from the summer months.

“Back in June, July, we were seeing around 35 to 40 people a month. Last month we helped I think 79 individuals,” he said.

They get food from the SEMO Food Bank, but they also buy some of their own.

He noticed the rise in prices, but also the shortages.

“It’s been more and more difficult to actually find the food that we usually keep stocked on the shelves as staples,” he said.

“Things like canned chicken in particular.”

The Salvation Army is getting ready to serve its annual Thanksgiving meal.

Lieutenant Lily Reinier said they need help to make it happen.

“I’m hoping that between this community, we can gather up enough supplies to at least make a decent meal for the community,” Reinier said.

If they don’t get the food donated, it cuts into outside budgets.

“Even just our social services that we spend out for the community, help in their times of need, so any little bit that we can help get, that we don’t have to spend out is more money that we can give out to the community or help to feed in our feeding program,” she said.

Smith encouraged you to donate what you can, so they can give more food to those who need it.

“It doesn’t matter, give to us, give to them, just give to somebody to help alleviate that need,” Smith said.

The SEMO Food Bank is also getting ready for Thanksgiving, but it’s the second year in a row they can’t get turkeys because of supply chain issues.

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