INDIANAPOLIS — These days, you may find yourself making choices to stretch your hard-earned money. Increased grocery store prices are causing many people to turn to food pantries, but they are also feeling the effects of inflation.
"We absolutely are feeling that crunch of cost,” said Bob Williams, Director of Operations at St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry. “We are just now going through the budget period for next year and we have increased our food budget by 50 percent. "
St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry serves around 3,000 families every week. While the pantry is seeing an increase in prices to provide people in need with food, shoppers who receive food from the pantry says inflation is changing their lives.
“Since the gas went up it’s been hard,” Jeanine Eddins, who uses the food pantry, said. “I mean I even had to change jobs from going further out to trying to stay closer to home because just spending on gas takes away from food. It's crazy when you are standing as the gas pump asking did I eat today [and] when am I going to eat tomorrow. "
For people like Vincent Starks, food pantries are the only way he can provide food for himself. He says ever since additional SNAP benefits returned to pre-pandemic levels, it's been hard for him to get by, especially withinflation making many things more expensive.
"I've had to back off from buying clothes and back off on buying things for my grandbabies,” Starks said. “Gas is tearing me up; it's a lot of personal things that I can't afford or do right now,including vacation. I can't even go on vacation anymore. "
Unfortunately, economists say its going to be a while before Hoosiers get any relief.
"We will not see prices come back down,” Phillip Powell, a Professor of Business Economics at the Kelly School of Business, said. “What we hope for is as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and the economy slows down, which has its own negative effects, [but] it will see the rate of increase in food prices start to go down.”
Dr. Michael Hicks, an economist and Ball State University professor, says while he thinks we will continue to see higher prices for about the next year, the price of some items may come down.
"Food and energy costs, which are linked to gasoline and petroleum ... those could come back down substantially," Hicks said. "I think as consumers, we're going to see some of the items we buy ... we'll probably see the price come back down."
Regardless of when inflation starts to calm down, Hoosiers like Eddins still need to put food on their table, which is why she says social services and charity organizations are needed to help people like her and her family.
"I just thank God for places like this because a lot of people wouldn't have anything at all, " Eddins said.
St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry says since the pandemic volunteers have been hard to come by. Volunteers are key to the services they provide. If you are interested in volunteering, click here.