West Texas Food Bank sees spike in demand amid record inflation rate

Many people are having trouble affording groceries with rising prices
Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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It’s no secret that prices for just about everything has gone up in the last couple of years due to supply chain shortages, and other issues.

But when it comes to the food we put on the table, for some, high prices could mean the difference between eating and going hungry.

The price of bacon, bread, milk, and many other household staples, all shooting up in the last year significantly.

And for those with a limited or fixed income, those prices can be devastating.

But that’s where the West Texas Food Bank comes in.

“This is one way of making ends meet,” said Phyllis Jeanne, a Midlander who attended the food pantry.

“It has helped me so much!” said Annamae Carey, who recently moved to Odessa.

For the hundreds of people who line up at the Midland and Odessa locations of the West Texas Food Bank, there is a need.

And that need is met, day-in and day-out, but especially during the food bank’s weekly food pantry.

One by one the volunteers and staff members tirelessly fill trunks and truck beds for hours on end.

“It is so fulfilling when you see the people’s faces in those cars, and you look at the staff and they’re smiling and they’re telling people it’s going to be okay, every day,” said Libby Campbell.

Libby Campbell is the Executive Director of the West Texas Food Bank.

She’s seen many people come to the food bank in their time of need over the years, but the last couple of years have brought unique challenges.

“Those same costs that are affecting our clients every day in the stores, why they’re having to come to us, is also affecting the ability of us to procure food,” Campbell explained.

With inflation now at a high-level, demand has been steadily increasing.

“It scares me to death. I keep thinking, ‘Am I going to have enough money to pay my bills or buy groceries, or anything else?” said Phyllis Jeanne

Because of that, to Campbell and her team, this mission is personal.

“I always say the faces of hunger are not always what you think they are. You never know how close somebody is, whether it’s your neighbor, one of your kiddos, parents, friends at school, how close they are, truly, to being in a situation where they don’t have food. Maybe they’re one paycheck away from that,” said Campbell.

And as 2022 rolls along, it seems like every week, there are more people in need of the food bank’s help.

“You add in that factor of inflation, that definitely changes matters of maybe not the ones who normally need a little bit of help but now we’ve got people who’ve never needed to come here before,” Campbell says.

As many seem to be drowning in grocery bills, the food bank has become a critical lifeline.

“I don’t know what I would’ve done lots of times without it,” Phyllis Jeanne reflects.

“Thank the Lord for them. They’re awesome people to come out here and do this for people like me!” Annamae Carey says.

The West Texas Food Bank says that before COVID they distributed about 6.8 million pounds of food, then the first year of the pandemic was at 10.8 million pounds, and last year until September, when their fiscal year ends, they distributed 13 million pounds.

If you’d like more information on how to donate, volunteer, or get help click here.

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