FORT WAYNE. Ind. (WANE) – The ripple effect of the supply chain crisis continues— now, it’s disrupting food banks.
“When there’s a shortage in supply chain, it makes it much more difficult for us to be able to provide our clients with food,” said Linda Hansen, the food bank director at Wellspring Interfaith Social Services.
Hansen said Wellspring Interfaith Social Services has seen a decline in the amount donations from both retailers and the public.
“Our shelves would normally be a lot fuller right now,” said Hansen. “We usually get several people donating a week and it’s not necessarily a huge amount of food, but it’s just a little bit extra that helps us go that extra for the client and those have whittled down to sometimes we get no donations during the week.”
While the amount of food the bank has to give out has gone down, Hansen said it has seen “a lot” of new clients. She said they typically serve about 1,600 clients per month.
Darlene Walker, the warehouse supervisor for Community Harvest Food Bank, said they’ve maintained a steady amount of donations and clients, but stocking the shelves has become more challenging.
“A lot of places that we order food from are saying that it’s three to four months out before we can even get it,” said Walker. “We then have to depend on volunteers and donations to come in to help fill in that gap… if we continue the process that we’re in, it’s going to be a detriment to to everyone, not having enough truck drivers to get the product.”
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Since Wellspring Interfaith Social Services shops for some of its food at Community Harvest, it has started to see the trickle down effect of this issue.
“We’re seeing a decline in the availability of product,” said Hansen. “The cost is so high at the grocery store, that they’re not able to keep things on the shelf because people buy it while they [the stores] have it.”
Food bank representatives said while waiting for the supply chain to get back to normal, the biggest way the public can help is to donate food. This is especially important during the holidays.
“Not everyone can go out and just get a turkey and all the trimmings and we want to ensure that we can provide that for our community,” said Walker. “Everyone deserves to have a respectable holiday. I couldn’t imagine not being able to get up and have children and not be able to offer that dinner for them.”