Jacksonville food pantry says demand increased around the same time gas prices started to rise

Jacksonville, Florida. Food banks are in high demand as working Americans are once again trying to make ends meet. Rapidly rising rents, soaring gas prices, and soaring food prices are just some of the reasons locals are having a hard time.

New4JAX spent time Thursday at a local food pantry as organizers say they are seeing families who never struggled before turning to them financially for help.

Officials at Jewish Family and Community Services’ Max Block Food Pantry say food demand increased at the same time as gas prices began to rise.

News4JAX spoke with families in need who say, without resources like food banks, their families would go without.

“The cost of living has gone up, but wages haven’t gone up, so it’s a struggle,” said Jacksonville resident Samuel Moten.

Moten is very honest about what all of America is going through: inflation at its highest level in 40 years, affecting everything from gas prices to food to rent. On Thursday, he and others were at Max Block Food Pantry, serving nearly 200 families a week — families who, for the first time ever, are turning to handouts to put food on the table.


“We’re seeing a lot of new faces, people with nicer cars, people who aren’t used to looking for help, but as the gas level goes up, everything goes up,” said Karen McCants, supervisor at Max Block Food. The store.

McCants says the Max Block Food Pantry feeds the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. She says the need for food has doubled compared to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same scene is repeated across the country, as food bank employees anticipate a tough summer, trying to stay ahead of demand.

“You see people really low,” McCants said. “And they are so grateful they would be without them.”

“For me, I don’t get food stamps, I don’t have any benefits, I’m a single guy, so without her I probably wouldn’t eat to be honest,” Moten said. “It is very useful, and we are grateful for that.”

If you’re in a situation where you can donate non-perishable food or hygiene products, organizers say they need your donation and that’s the time to donate — anticipating that inflation is here to stay for an unexpected amount of time.

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