MD Food Bank continues to address hunger, while preparing for the road ahead
MARYLAND- The Maryland Food Bank’s fiscal year 2023 began on July 1 and their new annual budget reflects the challenges they’re facing. The organization said they’re finding it harder to meet the demand for food assistance as inflation continues to cause concern.
“It’s hitting on several fronts, one in terms of demand, despite the fact that there’s more people working then there was probably a year ago,” Maryland’s Food Bank President and CEO Carmen Del Guercio said. “Due to unemployment rates, people are having a hard time making ends meet because of rising prices, whether it’s fuel or food or anything else, so it’s keeping demand at these higher levels and actually increasing demand and it’s costing us significant more dollars to maintain our operation.”
We are told they are seeing rising costs throughout all areas of their operation. “We’re buying about twice as much food today then we were pre-pandemic; almost 25 million pounds and we are paying nearly twice the costs about, 88 cents a pound, versus about 45 cents a pound before the pandemic,” Del Guercio said. But that’s not all. “It’s hitting fuel and we have vehicles that run on gas as well as diesel those prices have increased significantly. We buy a lot of cardboard. We’re seeing that’s a significant increase in price on the fuel side, probably several hundred thousand.”
While the food bank is seeing rising costs, they took this into account when planning their new annual budget. The food bank plans to buy up to 25 million pounds of food this year with their overall budget increasing by 18%. They factored in more inflationary pressure and gave themselves some cushion as prices may still go up down the line. “We built a budget I think that’s preparing us pretty well for some of the circumstances that we are facing today,” Del Guercio said. “As well as, protecting if you will on the down side going forward. You know it’s going to be important for us to continue to monitor the situation and be in a position to respond as we need to.”
The CEO tells 47ABC through these challenging times they will hopefully rely on financial support from donors that have been generous in the past. They also said some of the rising costs are because of their healthy options when buying.