The price of food has gone up drastically, and it's putting a strain on the nonprofits that feed those who are food insecure.
Keeping up with the demand for food assistance is a heavy lift for Chelsea Nonprofit La Colaborativa.
Gladys Vega, the organization’s executive director, spent part of Tuesday morning doing inventory of everything in her food storage trailers to figure out what can be distributed Wednesday and what she can save for next week.
Each week they give food to roughly 7,000 people but they also expect about 10,000 will be in line just on Tuesday for Thanksgiving meal boxes. Vega says a big reason is inflation.
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"The price of food has gone drastically up and people are no longer able to afford food," she said.
The climbing costs are impacting everyone, and her ability as an organization to provide. Vega said she was supposed to be buying 1,000 turkeys but had to change course.
"It was $46,000 for 1,000 turkeys. And I was like, oh my God, I would not be able to afford that. So I'm doing the diverse selection of meats.”
The Greater Boston Food Bank works with 600 partners across 190 cities and towns in the state. They say their partners are reporting that they are still seeing about twice the number of individuals per month than they were prior to the pandemic.
"That's about 600,000 individuals per month that our network is feeding," Jonathan Tetreault, their VP of Community Impact said.
Organizations say inflation, increasing heating costs, and rising rent prices are driving demand, leading to long lines like the one that wrapped around the Salvation Army in Chelsea Tuesday. The organization said people started standing outside by 5 a.m..
Iris Montafar waited almost six hours for about two days worth of food.
"A lot of stress. You know, the food, the rent, the bills, kid, the kids, you know, everything," Montafar said, ”It's very difficult."
The Salvation Army estimates requests for rental, utility, and holiday assistance are up by about 50% from last year. Facing more economic uncertainty and cold winter months ahead, Montafar said, “It's a blessing for us to have these organizations help us in so many ways.”