Holiday season and inflation fuel demand at food pantries, but donations remain steady

Posted at 1:07 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 17:32:55-05

TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — People standing outside Fish & Loaves in Taylor this week said they are thankful for the community food pantry. It means a lot for people like seniors on a fixed income who need a little help.

One 83-year-old man says he’s been coming to the pantry for several years.

“Coming to Fish & Loaves is a blessing,” he told 7 Action News. “It meant that my stomach won’t be growling and I’ll be able to survive and not be hungry.”

Stephanie McNees, the executive director of Fish & Loaves said, “clients are able to come through the aisles and shop for themselves.”

She says food donations to the pantry are steady, however, inflation and now the holiday season, are fueling demand.

"Our Saturday program on the weekends, we are seeing exponential growth every weekend. We’re seeing over 600 cars on Saturday in a span of three hours,” McNees adds.

Fish & Loaves primarily serving downriver communities and beyond.

She says community food drives by schools, businesses and other organizations are clutch, along with the food that comes from Gleaners Community Food Bank and Forgotten Harvest. But the demand for their resources is growing.

Sokul says that's similar to government food donation levels in 2018. But she says the need wasn't as great.

On the bright side, when it comes to cash donations, she says Gleaners gets a good deal buying directly from farmers, manufacturers and retailers.

"If our community members have the ability to give a little, we can do a lot with those dollars," Sokul said.

To help meet that need, Fish & Loaves is hosting its annual Santa’s Magic Forest starting this Saturday and it lasts several weeks. More information on the event can be found on Fish & Loaves’ website.