BR food bank navigating through inflation, fuel costs

“The problem is that we’re going to be challenged to be able to have sufficient food because we’re facing increased prices for food and fuel. So, it’s going to be a challenge going forward.”

Inflation and increased fuel costs are two issues that the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank battles on a regular basis.

Despite the obstacles, the food bank continues to work on ways to better serve the public

“When you start talking about inflation and increasing gasoline prices, you’re talking about a direct impact on the people we serve,” said food bank president and CEO Mike Manning. “The working poor are already struggling. We’ve had so many of them get out of line over the past few years because of the success of the economy. Now we’re seeing them get back in line. The problem is that we’re going to be challenged to be able to have sufficient food because we’re facing increased prices for food and fuel. So, it’s going to be a challenge going forward.”

Manning said senior citizens with fixed incomes have been greatly affected by inflation.

“They’re not increasing their fixed income to keep pace with inflation,” he said. “They’re already dealing with that and have to deal with the cost of prescription medicines that are increasing, so it’s going to be a double-headed challenge for people from the standpoint of not just the poor, but also those on fixed incomes, who are going to be challenged to be able to find ways to get food assistance.”

Like anyone who drives a gas-powered vehicle, the food bank is dealing with expensive diesel fuel costs. Surcharges on transportation because of the increasing fuel costs present challenges for Manning and his staff.

In addition, fires and other causes forced processing plants to close and as a result, it has been harder to gain access to food, according to Manning. Being proactive is part of the solution he said.

“What we do is we focus on being as efficient and effective as possible but we look to our community,” Manning said. “Every time we face something, whether it be the flood in our facility or a disaster, we look to our community to help us and our community always has rallied around us. The people in our area who are increasingly food insecure are going to be looking to us and we’re going to be looking to our community.”

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