Supply chain problems, rising costs impacts Tampa Bay food banks

Local News

SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Tampa Bay food banks are feeling the impacts of the ongoing national supply chain disruptions. In Sarasota County, All Faiths Food Bank is facing growing challenges with the rising costs of food as well as transportation.

The nonprofit’s warehouse is typically stocked from the ground to the ceiling, but not right now. On Friday, 8 On Your Side saw several empty shelves throughout the warehouse.

CEO Sandra Frank says the empty shelves paint a clear picture of what the organization is facing at the moment.

“We are all experiencing pretty severe supply chain disruptions right now. One of the things that we discovered is that our costs to purchase food are higher this year than they were during the height of the pandemic,” said Frank. “We never would have anticipated that, so our food costs this year, for instance, are 15% higher than they were last year.”

The rising prices of food seen at the grocery store, the nonprofit sees on a much larger scale.

All Faiths Food Bank distributes around 20,000,000 pounds of food each year. In addition to the rising cost of food, the nonprofit is adjusting its budget to meet the rising cost of transportation.

“Your viewers are experiencing it at the gas station. For us, it is a 20% increase in transportation costs. So we may get food that is donated but moving it is 20% higher this year than it was last year. Whoever would have imagined supply chain challenges 20 months into the pandemic.”

As prices continue to rise, some families are starting to feel their budgets tighten, and with that, more people are seeking out help.

Feeding Tampa Bay CEO Thomas Mantz tells 8 On Your Side they’re already seeing a slight uptick in clients. Fortunately, the supply chain issues haven’t yet taken a toll on their typical operations.

“So far, we are okay. So far, we have continued to be able to source as much food as we need, but we definitely have a concern moving forward,” said Mantz. “It is a time for all of us to be concerned about making sure everybody has healthy food on their table.”

There are several resources across the Tampa Bay area to find food if you find yourself in need.

“It would be wonderful if the community would sort of understand that the challenges they are facing are the same challenges the food bank faces, only on a huge scale and that their gift can help us purchase food,” said Frank. “We promise to be ever so frugal in how we use it and we promise to get the most nutritious food we can in these challenging times,” she continued

To donate to All Faiths Food Bank or Feeding Tampa Bay, visit their websites.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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