“Our shelves in the distribution center at the Tarrant Area Food Bank would normally be much fuller,” Butner said. “We are facing a food shortage that we did not see coming; given food supply chain issues, food donations are down, food costs are sky-high, and the need is even greater as inflation and other problems are having a negative effect on our community.”
She added, “We need support from our community: donations to purchase food and volunteers to ensure its delivery.”
Food bank leaders like Butner have said funding partner agencies and mobile distributions has become more difficult. The need experienced by the Tarrant Area Food Bank has reached the same high it saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, WFAA reported.
In response, the nonprofit has used unbudgeted funding to purchase food. Leaders stated they must close down mobile stations or fundraise within the local community to meet increased needs.
During the week of June 17, the Tarrant Area Food Bank hosted a couple of distribution events, WFAA reported, including one at Dickies Arena.
Butner and other food bank officials said at the time that crowds were “mid-pandemic” size.
“To have lines like this indicates that the need is really high right now,” Butner told WFAA during the Dickies Arena distribution event.
Butner said the nonprofit has also felt the rising costs of food and gas.
“We’re having a hard time ourselves because we’re feeling the strains of increased cost and increased food costs and gasoline,” she said. “But we gotta be out here. If we’re not here, who’s here?”
The Tarrant Area Food Bank had an allotted budget of $1.4 million for food for the year, according to WFAA, and so far, the organization has spent $4.9 million. In May, the nonprofit distributed about 800,000 meals a week, compared to a weekly distribution of 1 million during the pandemic.
As reported by The Dallas Express, other food banks are also struggling, including the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). The organization’s CEO and president, Trisha Cunningham, told WFAA that supply chain issues have hit the nonprofit.
“The supply chain certainly impacts our access to donated food right now,” Cunningham said. “Therefore, we’re purchasing three times more food than we ever have.”
The North Texas Food Bank sees an increased need during the summer season, according to Cunningham, because all the children on summer break lose access to the free lunches provided by programs at school.
“Summer’s the hungriest time of the year,” Cunningham explained. “Most families are having to provide 10 extra meals per child of school age that they didn’t have to provide during the school year.”
Cunningham added that the number of donations the food bank receives has gone down.
She told WFAA, “We’re also seeing another perfect storm, where we’re seeing the increase of food needs, but our donations have also gone down.”
Last month, NTFB provided access to over 13 million meals.