Inflation driving food insecurity during the holiday season season

Record-high inflation may result in the season of giving taking on new significance this year.

More people are living on the margins and without giving some may struggle to get food on the table.

Experts say food insecurity has been increasing along with inflation.

Boy Scouts of America held its Scouting for Food Drive Saturday.

Groups were unloading bags of non-perishable items at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano as part of their annual effort to help feed those in need during the holiday season.

"We know there are a lot of families in need this year. Inflation has been really difficult for a lot of our families," said Karl Meyer, a father of two Scouts. "Even in our scouting families, some of them are struggling and this is a great way for all of our young people who are boys and girls to get out and provide service to our community." 

9-year-old Julia Meyer was one of the Scouts who handed out door hangers and flyers about a week ago, then collected the goods Saturday morning.

"It makes me feel happy to help people because it’s just kind of fun," said Meyer.  

She’s one of many helping at a time when experts say increasing numbers of people are food insecure.  Scout leaders say this year inflation is biting everyone.

"Some places that weren’t able to give that wanted to and that’s how we can see even in some affluent neighborhoods as well, people wanted to give but couldn’t," said Monica Holland with Boy Scouts of America.  "It shows that inflation is reaching areas that we never thought it would probably reach."  

Volunteers with White Pony Express (WPE) in Pleasant Hill were organizing bags of perishable food that might otherwise have been thrown out.  The non-profit is a food rescue organization that aims to eliminate poverty and hunger.

"I believe that before Covid 1 in 5 of our neighbors were hungry and food insecure and I think we all know that since Covid that number has gone up," said Eve Birge, Executive Director of White Pony Express.  "Now with inflation that number is going to get higher."  

Inflation is disproportionately impacting those who can least afford it.

By working with companies, groceries stores, and others, WPE is helping keep food out of landfills.

They say in Contra Costa County about 40% of the food produced is wasted.

"White Pony Express comes in we rescue that food and make sure it gets to the people that need it," said Birge.  "If we can save just 1/3 of the 40% of food that’s going to waste, we eliminate hunger."