DENVER — The unwavering side effect of a global pandemic and overseas conflict is inflation, and Food Bank of the Rockies isn't immune.
"Our food costs have tripled since pre-COVID," said CEO Erin Pulling.
The nonprofit distributes food to those facing food insecurity. Inside their Denver-based warehouse are food items the nonprofit has purchased, ones provided by the USDA and ones people have donated.
However, inflation has put some of their staple items at a steep hike. The nonprofit has seen a 20 percent increase in the cost for ground beef, a 54 percent increase in the cost for vegetable oil, and a 30 percent increase in the cost for canned fruit.
In addition, the food bank says getting their items to the warehouse for distribution is more expensive.
"We've had a 70 percent increase in gas and freight costs just over the last year," Pulling said. "That has resulted in a tripling of what we are spending on food and freight now up to nearly $1 million every month."
The food bank distributes more than 1.5 million meals on average each week, according to the nonprofit, but Pulling says even that has grown.
"We actually distributed more than 20 percent more food in March than we did in January this year," she said.
The nonprofit's leaders say increased costs coupled with increased need means Food Bank of the Rockies needs community support more than ever.
"Many people are coming to us for the first time, who've really been hit at home with the increased costs for groceries and gas and can't make ends meet," Pulling said. "Food Bank of the Rockies can stretch money donated so much further than individuals can who are purchasing food and donating it to us."
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