Middletown food pantry serves twice as many customers

According to the USDA, grocery prices are expected to rise by up to 10% this year. The sharp increase resulted in more people turning to local food stores to make ends meet.

Monday through Friday, you can find groceries in Sally Merced bags at Honor’s Food Pantry in Middletown.

“I put enough of them in the bags for them to get at least three days of meals,” said Merced, the pantry coordinator.

Bags are distributed from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the sidewalk food pantry.

Families even get frozen meat, and in recent months, they’ve seen more people come in due to skyrocketing food prices at groceries.

What you need to know

  • According to the USDA, grocery prices are expected to rise by up to 10% this year
  • Kelly Zago of Honor Food Pantry says they have seen an increase in the use of their Middletown food pantry due to the massive rise in groceries prices.
  • Store at Honor in Middletown is open from 2pm to 3pm Monday through Friday

“A lot of people can’t buy the meat that’s in the markets right now,” Merced said.

So more families are turning to the pantry to make ends meet.

“We are seeing higher usage because of higher gas and prices in the supermarket, but then also, out-of-school kids, who are our vulnerable people,” said Kelly Zago, Honors Operations Manager.

According to the USDA, wholesale poultry prices are expected to increase by 20-23% this year. Egg prices are expected to rise by 20%, and all of these price increases hurt low-income families the most.

“At this time last year, we were probably on average five or six people a day, now we average 10 to 12 people a day,” Zago said.

Jessica Welch picked up food for several families from the Orange County Mental Health Association. The participants were short of food due to the skyrocketing food prices and the need for assistance.

“There is a huge financial burden,” Welch said.

Getting food is vital to them.

“The prices are so high that you can’t eat healthy food, and when you’re dealing with health issues, it’s really important,” Welch said.

Organizers said that if food prices continued to rise, they could see more people coming to their pantry, but they were willing to meet the need and feed the community one bag at a time.

“They enjoy coming here because they are treated with respect and dignity, and we give them everything we got,” Merced said. “We don’t hold back on anything. If we have it, they need it. They get it.”

If you or someone you know needs food, call Honor Food Store in Middletown at 845-343-7115 ext. 300.

If you are interested in supporting an Honor food store, you can organize a food drive for canned goods at your workplace or organization.

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