Bay Area food banks grapple with surging costs, supply chain delays ahead of Thanksgiving

In just one month, the food bank's cost for seven core items rose $60,000.

Friday, November 12, 2021
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Coronavirus pandemic, rising inflation and supply chain interruptions: Bay Area food banks are facing serious challenges ahead of Thanksgiving.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, activity is ramping up at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, in a year when not only a pandemic, but also rising inflation and supply chain interruptions present considerable challenges.

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"We're actually able to get it, but it does cost a lot more than it was previously," said Regi Young, Executive Director at the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland.

"Generally, we're seeing one in four people in Alameda County are at-risk of needing our services. So what we're just having to be doing is be really strategic about the way we're sourcing food items."

In just one month, the food bank's cost for seven core items rose $60,000.

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The price for one item alone, oatmeal, has jumped 18 percent.

And then there are the supply chain issues.

Basic items, like canned fruit, are taking a lot longer to get here.

"Previously I would put in an order that would get here in six weeks," explained the food bank's Associate Director of Supply Chain Wilken Louie, "but having some visibility on the trends that were happening with shipping and backups at the ports, I extended that lead time to maybe eight or nine weeks."

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So far, the food bank is well-stocked in its primary protein for holiday distribution--which includes some turkeys, but mostly chickens.

Despite the challenges, food bank officials are confident they will provide for all those who depend on them this holiday.

"We're going to ensure that everyone who comes to one of our pantries has a meal," said Young, "and if that means we have to shift some of the items that we're purchasing, we're going to do that."

Anyone in need of food, wanting to volunteer or make a donation can find more information at