SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)– Supply shortages and price increases are happening across the nation, including this year’s Thanksgiving meal items.
The shortages are seen at grocery stores, car dealerships and gas stations. Now, it is starting to affect local food banks like The Table Community Food Pantry in Syracuse.
Inventory manager Joe Reitz started with the food bank two years ago at the Living Word Church. Now, with the mix of COVID-19 and the supply chain shortage, nothing is stopping him from giving back.
“The shortages is creating kind of a creative way for us to get a bundle together and to keep it going,” said Reitz. “We just want to give back to the Syracuse community.”
Reitz’s concerns stem from two issues happening in the food industry: limited supplies and increased prices.
According to the United States Department of Labor, the consumer price index rose from 6.2 % from last year– the largest increase since December of 1990.
Food prices, in particular, rose 5.3 % in the last year and 0.9 % in the last month.
“We can’t find turkey’s or cranberry sauce,” said Reitz. “Stuff that we thought were staples every week, they are not there anymore.”
This year, The Table Community Food Pantry holds a Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway on Nov. 20th.
The food pantry on average feeds 300 people twice a month. For Thanksgiving, they plan to feed 800 to 900 families.
“We have cars wrapped around the parking lot,” said Reitz. “This year we had to make people register.”
Patrick Penfield, professor in practice for supply chain management at Syracuse University, Whitman said you can blame COVID-19 for all of the shortages happening across the globe.
“Companies were trying to reorientate themselves to be able to meet the demand,” said Penfield. “COVID-19 has caused a lot of our supply chain issues that we see today.”
Despite the set backs, Reitz said The Table Community Food Pantry is here to stay, no matter the supply chain issues this holiday season.
“We stocked up and came up with a creative plan in late September,” said Reitz. “Syracuse is one of the poorest cities in America, we have to feed these people.”
Penfield said the supply chain shortage can go well into 2022 after the holidays, depending on COVID-19 variant spikes.
“I think we will see things go back to normal probably in the end of the first quarter,” said Penfield. “It all depends on if there is another COVID-19 variant spike, if there is, things can stay the same.”
Reitz said The Table Community Food Pantry has a shortage in meats. They too have learned how to deal with the increased demand and the cut backs from Food Bank of Central New York.
“Some of the can goods and other items have become expensive,” said Reitz. “We rely heavily on Food Bank CNY and donations.”
If you would like to donate or find out more about The Table Community Food Pantry Thanksgiving drive, click here.