Inflation, supply issues limit donations to Seattle food banks

Nov 21, 2022, 5:41 PM
People gather at the Northwest Harvest food bank in SODO. (Photo courtesy Northwest Harvest)
(Photo courtesy Northwest Harvest)

The same inflation and supply chain issues affecting your local grocery store are also taking a toll on food banks.

For the first time since Northwest Harvest’s Chief Advancement Officer Laura Perez Hamilton can remember, the SODO Community Market food bank is not handing out turkeys for Thanksgiving.

“You know, unfortunately, because of supply chain issues this year, we weren’t able to secure that usual Turkey donation,” Perez Hamilton said.

Northwest Harvest is a non-profit that supports food banks around the state.

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She said they were able to pass out chickens last week, and they currently have a variety of other food on hand, but supply chain problems are putting a dent in the donations they would typically see from grocers and food producers.

“Food companies aren’t able to make donations as they had been in the past because of their own supply chain issues,” Perez Hamilton said.

This rings true, especially in Seattle, where the Consumer Price Index for October showed that food prices were nearly 12% higher compared to October last year.

That’s making it more costly for food banks to supplement donations by buying food in bulk.

“Food prices are currently up 12%. You know that adds up when we’re trying to buy food at scale the way that we do,” Perez Hamilton said.

And the reality is, when food prices increase, fewer individuals donate. At the same time, more families are turning to food banks for help.

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“We are experiencing ourselves that we’re having a greater number of people come through the door,” Perez Hamilton said. “We’re also hearing from our partners that they’re seeing more people coming through the door.”

The SODO food bank still has plenty of other food, including canned goods, pasta, and produce.

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Inflation, supply issues limit donations to Seattle food banks