Food shelves are Juggling Lower Food Supply & Rising Participation

Posted Thursday, June 9, 2022

You may have seen recent news coverage highlighting the struggles food shelves are facing to keep shelves stocked while supporting more people in our community. This is a nationwide issue and Keystone is experiencing these issues too.

Recently Keystone was featured in a Fox 9 News story about the growing participation rates we’re seeing and the issues we’re juggling to keep our food shelves stocked. Click to watch the video or read the news story. 

Participation at our food shelves has doubled. Last April, Keystone supported 1,100 households with food support and in the April of 2022, we had more than 2,600 households utilize our food shelf programs. We know participation will only continue to rise as the price of consumer goods continues to rise.

Community food shelves are designed to help families weather through times like these. Unfortunately, food shelves are also facing challenges in making sure our shelves are stocked. Keystone is paying higher costs to purchase our food supplies. Additionally, there are fewer food resources within the food bank system. Here are a few examples we want to share:

  • Last year, it cost $35 to purchase a carton of ground beef through Second Harvest; today we pay between $65-$85 for the same carton of meat.
  • The supply of federal emergency food assistance that Second Harvest receives from the USDA is down 54%, making it really challenging for Keystone to have the same volume, quantity, and variety of food.
  • Food rescue items from grocery stores, which have typically made up 50% of the food we distribute, are also decreasing due to supply chain issues and the higher cost of food.

It really is a perfect storm impacting food shelves across the system.

At Keystone, we are doing the best we can in these unexpected circumstances to help everyone who needs food support. Just as we have over the past two years, we are pivoting quickly and creating new solutions to ensure that everyone has the food they need.

Even through the toughest times, our community comes together to support one another. If you are wondering how you can help, here are a few ways:

  • Host a food drive – Gather with your colleagues, your book club, your faith community, or neighbors to host a food drive. Collect specific items like tuna, peanut butter, pasta or rice as these are items that we’re having a hard time sourcing. Click here to see the resources on our website to set up a food drive.
  • Give a monthly donation – Cash contributions help us have the resources needed to purchase food from our food bank partners at the lowest cost possible. A monthly donation of $10, $25, or $50 goes a long way to purchase food and helps sustain services for our community. Give online here and click monthly.
  • Volunteer – We are actively looking for volunteers to help in our food shelf programs. If you can spare a few hours every week, or once a month, we’d love to have you join our volunteer team! We have some special one-time events over the summer that might work for you too. We can offer a flexible schedule that works for you. Submit your volunteer application online here.
  • Spread the word – Share this email and information with your family and friends. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more content via email and in our social media channels to let our community know how they can help. Please share this information and invite your friends and neighbors to get involved in supporting food shelves.
  • Save & donate bags – Even donating paper/plastic bags from home can be a big a big help; all support makes an impact! You can drop donated bags at the food shelves or our community center locations.

If you or anyone you know is needing extra food support, we are hosting our Free Farmer’s Market Events again this summer and our food shelves are here for anyone in need.

We are forever thankful for everything you do, and appreciate your dedication to supporting our community!