GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Some Upstate non-profits said food pantries are running low on items.
Leaders said inflation and higher food prices are causing impacts on the donations they receive.
“We’ve definitely seen a decrease in what is on our shelves physically. Beyond that too, we have seen an decrease in sort of the incoming donations as far as just from the general public,” said Lauren Stephens, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army of Greenville County. “We’re starting to really think that it’s one of those things that definitely connected to just the sheer cost of each individual item that folks are having to supply for their own households.”
“For us to then ask for an additional part of that to be supplied to us, we understand that everybody’s pockets are stretched a little thin these days,” Stephens said.
Stephens said some of the shelves are somewhat empty.
“Currently, we have some empty shelves, which in my eight years here I’ve not seen,” Stephens said. “Which is really unnerving as we go into potentially some cooler months.”
“We’re going to start seeing folks come in, especially when kids are going to be out for fall break, which means more mouths are at home eating the food that’s in the cabinets,” she said. “So, we’re really just worried about how is this going to carry over. We can make do right now, but making do is also having people come back in a couple of days, if they’re able to, to have more food provided for them in their food box.”
On top of some of the empty shelves, Stephens said one of their coolers is wiped out after it recently broke down.
“It’s cool in here now, but still nothing is in it because there’s nothing to put in it,” Stephens said. “We don’t have any product.”
Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM), is also seeing impacts from inflation.
“The shelves at AIM are bare as well. We still have some food, but they’re not nearly what we would like them to be at this point,” said Kristi Brock, Executive Director at AIM. “We’re just pretty sparse. So, things like dried beans, rice, peanut butter things like that are items that we really could use.”
Leaders from both organizations said they are seeing more people.
“Our numbers are up across the board with folks requesting services,” Brock said. “People are just having a hard time.”
“We’re seeing a larger span of demographics. We are seeing folks who are three…four years ago would be considered that middle of the road income level, but their paycheck just isn’t stretching far any longer, and they are no more eligible for additional benefits,” Stephens said.
“As far as food boxes, rent, utilities, we are seeing triple the amount of request every week for this type of assistance, and we’re just trying to provide as much as we can with what we have, while we have it,” Stephens said.
“The folks who were in poverty prior to the pandemic, prior to this big swooping inflation, they are still in poverty,” Stephens said. “We just have more people who are struggling with their income, as well as the limits that their income can reach.”
With the holidays coming up, some said it poses more concern.
“We recognize fully that we will have more folks that are coming to our campus on Thanksgiving Day to participate in our Thanksgiving Community Meal,” Stephens said. “We serve not only the residents of our shelter campus, but we also serve anyone who doesn’t have a place to have Thanksgiving. So, we are worried about being able to make the macaroni and cheese. We are worried about being able to do all the sides.”
“We’re hoping that people will realize that there are folks out there who are wondering if they’re going to have a Thanksgiving meal. Wondering how they’re going to put food on their tables, and for those of us who’ve been blessed, we need to remember that,” Brock said.
Leaders hope anyone who is able, can help them by donating.
“We’re asking Greenville to help us meet this need,” Stephens said. “We have families who are coming to us struggling, truly struggling and they are trying. You know, we have dual income households that just can’t make ends meet.”
“If folks are interested in donating, we always ask for monetary donations because those also go toward feeding the residents that we have on our shelter campus,” Stephens said. “We are at 101 percent capacity right now, which means we have 84 individuals on our campus–that includes mothers, that includes children, men, women, everyone.”
Stephens said monetary donations can be made on their website. She said tangible donations can be brought to The Salvation Army Command building at 501 Rutherford Street, adding that there’s a red donation bin at the rear of the building.
Brock with AIM said, they will have a major food drive in October. You can donate at AIM anytime. Click here to learn more.