Norfolk Food Pantry Impacted by Inflation Costs

The Norfolk Food Pantry at Church of Christ Congregational is seeing fewer donations and rising grocery bills amid the worst inflation in nearly 40 years.

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The Norfolk Food Pantry has been open for many years at the Church of Christ Congregational.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers started tracking how many families were in need of assistance.

“Throughout COVID, we’ve probably fed about two to four families per day,” said Reverend Erick Olsen.

That totaled to about 12 to 15 people per day. During the highest inflation in over four decades, that number has significantly increased.

“Even within the last month, that has easily doubled so we are now to the point where we are seeing sometimes 25 to 27 people,” Olsen said.

The church also saw a spike in grocery bills. Volunteers are reimbursed through grant money to go food shopping once or twice a week. At check out, the total amount is doubling.

“Two months ago, somebody would have gone to the grocery store and come back with a bill for 200 or 300 dollars. Now, we are seeing 400 to 600 dollars for some of the same items,” Olsen explained.

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Olsen said volunteers recently went on a grocery store run, allowing for fully stocked shelves at the food pantry. However, the shelves are not always full.

Community donations are low amid rising food prices.

“At this point the donations are not meeting the need that has risen,” Olsen said.

Residents are welcomed to stop by to drop off donations or to pick up necessities Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. in the lower level of Battell Chapel.

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