AUSTIN, Texas — We're now more a year-and-a-half into the coronavirus pandemic, and demand in food pantries is higher now than when the pandemic started.
Saint Vincent de Paul's food pantry is open every Saturday, and they're trying to help feed as many people as possible.
"People that are on the streets, people that are not on the streets, low-income families, people just that need food," said Michael Tullius, client services coordinator at St. Vincent de Paul.
Currently, they're serving about 250 families.
"Well, since COVID started, our numbers doubled, and in about the past month, they've gone up just a little bit," said Tullius.
Last week they had about 25 more people than the week before, and this week they expected even more.
"I know there's a food shortage, also people not being able to get food to grocery stores," he added. "We've been having a little bit more people come in since that too."
He said now that school is in session, food prices are going up. It's no surprise the pantry is busier.
Volunteer Gavin Ross said the food pantry is receiving less and less fresh meats and produce because the prices of those food items have risen.
"So, we'll run out of some things like produce, meat, or milk, or eggs," said Ross. "Then we just kind of stick to giving out canned goods and stuff like that."
But canned goods aren't everyone's favorite. However, the high demand and climbing prices don't give them any other choice.
"I think everyone would rather have the fresh fruit, the fresh vegetables, the frozen meat rather than canned foods," added Tullius. "But, you know, and there's a shortage, you just kind of have to give it what you get."
The holidays just around the corner and that doesn't make the situation better for those who are already struggling.
"People's budgets are tight during November, December, January, you know, so it'll probably be a lot more people during those months," he said.
In the meantime, the line at this food pantry and others won't be getting shorter anytime soon.
If you're looking for a way to help, head over to the food pantry's website.
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