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Americans Face Mounting Food Insecurity Amid Rising Inflation and Soaring Prices

© AP Photo / Ross D. FranklinVolunteers fill up grocery carts with food for distribution into drive through vehicles at the St. Mary's Food Bank Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Phoenix
Volunteers fill up grocery carts with food for distribution into drive through vehicles at the St. Mary's Food Bank Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in Phoenix - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2023
Despite the ever-increasing need and demand in the US, donations to food banks have unfortunately experienced a decline. This can be attributed to the challenging financial situation faced by many Americans, who find themselves less able to donate due to inflation and skyrocketing food and grocery prices.
Food banks have found themselves amid a rock and a hard place as donations are plummeting amid surging demand, Axios reports, citing data from consumer surveys and analyses on food insecurity and grocery shopping behavior.
Divert Inc., an impact technology company, has found that inflation and mounting grocery prices are preventing Americans from making donations during this holiday season. Typically, holidays are the time when American consumers are more likely to assist those in need.
"Only 25% of respondents said they are more likely to donate during this year's holiday season compared to years past. Those who are donating less to food banks this season cite increasing food and grocery costs as the number one reason driving their decision," the company's report reads.
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The tech company also revealed that the current economic climate in the US prompted 72% of Americans to change their grocery shopping habits. Fifty-one percent of respondents said that grocery prices are forcing them to cut costs in other areas. What's more, 25% of consumers expressed anxiety about their ability to afford food in the next three to six months. Thirty percent said that they are now buying less "fresh food like produce" as prices bite.
According to Divert, 85% of respondents believe that food insecurity countrywide has surged since the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 63% suggest that the US is far more food insecure than the latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data indicates.
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Per USDA, food insecurity started climbing in 2022 for the first time in more than a decade with 44 million people living in food insecure households last year, which constitutes a 31% increase since 2021. Out of this number, thirteen million children were food insecure in 2022 in the US – a 44% spike since the last year.

For its part, Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks, cites surging demand for food assistance across the US. A network of 47 food pantries in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, has registered a 50% increase in visits. Morgan's food banks in Oregon have also seen a 50% surge in demand this year.

A survey by ParentsTogether Action, a nonprofit family advocacy organization, shows that 7 in 10 lower- and middle-income parents are struggling to afford food ahead of Thanksgiving. Per the US media, it's the first holiday season when people in need are enduring growing pressures without the federal government's pandemic-era food assistance, which was halted in March.
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