It’s hard to believe we’ve been experiencing record-high inflation for almost a year now. We thought the job losses that occurred throughout the pandemic would have the greatest impact on struggling families, but now we realize that the rising cost of food and fuel is putting an even greater strain on household budgets.
During the height of the pandemic, our food pantries were benefitting an average of 2,600 people per month. As food prices began to rise at the end of 2021, food pantry attendance grew, and we are now helping almost 3,000 people each month. One of those people is Anna.
Anna moved to the South Hills 15 years ago when she and her husband began feeling unsafe in their Penn Hills neighborhood. Their children live in the Pittsburgh area, so they had always felt stable and supported, but Anna and her husband had been struggling to put enough food on the table. They stopped purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables to save money and relied on their children to provide several meals each week. As Thanksgiving approached, Anna reached out to a friend to express her concern about the cost of hosting a Thanksgiving meal for her family. To Anna’s relief, her daughter agreed to host, but Anna’s friend recommended using one of SHIM’s three food pantries.
Anna knew that she needed help and contacted SHIM. When Anna met with SHIM’s service coordinator and learned that she was eligible to attend two pantry distributions per month, she was thrilled! She says her favorite thing about SHIM’s pantry is getting fresh produce back into their diets.
“It was great to have someone help me.”
We’ve met many neighbors like Anna, who never expected that they would need help paying for food. As we learned during the pandemic, low-income households don’t have enough space in their budgets to experience any sort of financial strain. We’re grateful to our supporters for stepping up to generously support our comprehensive programs to help neighbors get back on their feet.