Rising inflation impacting New Jersey food banks, animal shelters
From bare shelves at food pantries to bare shelves at animal shelters, the effects of inflation are being felt by entire families as the demand at pantries soars because of rising costs.
“Our shelves are not packed because the food is moving out,” says Gianna Santelli, of Isaiah House.
Isaiah House is a family shelter and food pantry in East Orange. Santelli says that the demand for food at the pantry has gone up in just the last month.
“Last month alone, we served 415 children and 350 families. So we’re seeing numbers come in,” Santelli says.
Going to a food pantry was once a way for families to get supplemental food. But now it's become a main source for some. Families were once able to come to the pantry once a month for one bag of food, filled with dinner staples. Some are now coming back multiple times.
“Because the need is so great, we've expanded that with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. They are sending more food here, so we can send more food out,” Santelli says.
They are seeing similar struggles at the nearby animal shelter in Montclair. Pet food donations have declined, and the number of surrendered pets has gone up.
The Montclair Township Animal Shelter says that many pets have been surrendered because owners can no longer afford to keep them.
“They’re out of work or underemployed and they cannot afford the vet bills,” says Liz Morgan, of the shelter. “People are being evicted. They’re losing their homes.”
And for those fighting to keep their pets, it's an uphill battle.
The numbers of people who have come in for cat and dog food, has doubled,” says Morgan. “We're down to a few bags of food…the increased need, it's a lot this year. People are really struggling.”
Inflation has risen at its fastest pace in 40 years this month. Its reach has been broad and that's why Americans are seeing its effects in unlikely places.
Both Isiah’s House and the Montclair Township Animal Shelter are asking those who can help to consider donating.