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Indy food assistance programs monitor impact of inflation, rising gas prices

Posted at 7:31 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 07:31:42-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a busy Thursday at Second Helpings in Indianapolis. Pallet after pallet, prepared and perishable food came in to the nonprofit.

Every day, more than 4,500 meals are made and distributed to 90 or so local social service agencies.

“So when we make food, it’s pans of 25 at a time or we’re making thousands of sandwiches at a time,” Nora Spitznogle with Second Helpings said.

That need may continue to grow, which is part of the reason why Second Helpings is monitoring the trends as gas prices among other costs sharply rise.

“This place does a great job of adapting to whatever the environment is,” Spitznogle said.

Food assistance programs react to inflation

The U.S. Labor Department reports inflation has hit a 40-year-high. Prices for consumers rose nearly 8% over the last year.

“We’re always watching, we’re preparing, we’re thinking ahead just to make sure we are able to serve the community,” Spitznogle said.

There are no big immediate impact of skyrocketing prices right now on Second Helpings, but the nonprofit is making incremental changes, like condensing routes to cut down on costs.

Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana is doing the same.

“After the last two years, I think we’re just prepared for anything,” Hope Steel with Meals on Wheels said.

Meals on Wheels, too, says so far, they have felt no direct impact. Prices for meals remained the same, but admittedly — it has been a challenge.

“We responded with COVID and we’ll respond with this,” Steel said.

Volunteers are the backbones for both food assistance programs.

“Life happens so we always need more volunteers in case there’s a sub that day or just our routes get bigger,” Steel said.

And both say whatever happens next, they’ll be there for the community.

“And we really do see the fluctuations of what’s happening in the economy and we’re always ready to ramp up meals if needed or to find other ways to serve our community through food,” Spitznogle said.

For those in need of assistance, here are some resources: