By Cameron French PHOENIX, N.Y. (NCC News) – Restaurants, grocery stores and food pantries across the country are facing supply shortages ahead of the holidays. Food pantries provide food, such snacks, soups and other non-perishable canned items to over 30 million people across the country.
Erin’s Angels of CNY in Phoenix, New York, is a food pantry backpack program that provides food for the weekend to nearly 100 Phoenix Central School District elementary and middle school students. The program honors Erin Maxwell, a former elementary school student who struggled with food insecurity before being killed by her step-brother at 11 years old.
Erin’s Angels Vice President and Volunteer Coordinator Connie Deshaies says the organization has had to jump through the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic. While prices on items have continued to fluctuate throughout the pandemic, it has not made as big of an impact as the recent supply chain issues.
“[The prices have] gone up, they’ve gone down a little, probably on average up a little bit,” Deshaies said. “It’s the supply problem that we’ve run into that we can’t always get what we need when we need it.”
According to Feeding America, more people are becoming at risk of hunger because of the pandemic, but most food pantries see an increase in physical and monetary donations during the holidays. Erin’s Angels Founder Sheila Dion emphasized the need for more supplies at the food pantry that runs throughout the year.
“When we’re feeding these kids and doing this [backpack] program, it’s a sustainable thing. It’s not just a one-time thing where we buy some food, and then we’re done we do it every single weekend,” Dion said. “We do it every single weekend, so we’re constantly having to buy food because it’s a consumable item.”
While supply chain issues have been a problem for many food-based organizations since the start of the pandemic, the food pantry has only recently experienced these shortages. Dion says these problems have come into focus over the past month.
“It’s fairly new as far as the supply chain issue goes,” Dion said. “The availability of some of the food and the cost of it has just recently kind of skyrocketed.”
As supplies fall and prices fall for several essential non-perishable food items, Erin’s Angels is looking for donations and volunteers this winter. Visit their website if you are interested in making a physical or monetary donation to the pantry. The food pantry is located in Maroun Elementary School at 11 Elm St, Phoenix, NY 13135.