Rising food prices have ripple effect in the community

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—If you have been to the grocery store lately, you’ve probably had to dig a little deeper into your pocket. It is an issue that is having a far-reaching impact on the community.

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices went up even more in January 2022. Some industry experts are saying there’s likely no relief on the way any time soon as people look for ways to come up with the extra money to cover the rising costs.

“I’m hoping this will be relatively temporary,” said Donna Pethtel, St. Albans, WV. Even though prices are going up Pethtel said she’s able to absorb the cost without having to go without anything. But she remembers a time when she would have struggled.

“I’ve been grateful,” she said. “There was a time in my life when that was extremely obvious and difficult. I am blessed.”

For many people living on a fixed income, the rising prices at their neighborhood grocery store are forcing them to make some tough choices.

Manna Meal in Charleston is seeing the changing needs up close. Leaders at the charity said more people who have housing but are barely scraping by are stopping in for meals and products from their food pantry.

“When their Social Security checks aren’t getting them as far as they used to go, we’ve seen all of those groups are starting to show up a little more,” said David Harrison, Operations Manager at Manna Meal. In addition to more seniors, they are also seeing more families.

But as they work to meet changing needs in the community, charities like Manna Meal are facing higher costs as well.

“We before relied a lot more on donors, local supermarkets bringing us things and that sort of stuff,” Harrison said. “And while that is still happening it is a lot of times no longer enough to do a whole meal.” That means charities are having to go out and buy more food. It is just one of the wide-reaching impacts of the high prices at the checkout.