BANGOR, Maine — For the past two and a half years, there has been no shortage of needs at food pantries across this country, as it looked like Americans were finally starting to get on their feet again.
Rich Romero has helped manage the Brewer Area Food Pantry for the last decade. Located in rural Maine, they help serve a community with a median income of around $27,000. This food pantry and a patchwork of others in rural communities across this country have served as a vital lifeline for countless families during COVID.
"Now we’re on the other side of that and what will it look like?" Romero said.
The demand for service at the pantry started to level off, only to have it skyrocket once again as inflation continues to drive up the cost of food.
"As we see food prices increase, we see an increase here for needed assistance," said Jessica Gibby, who also works at the food pantry.
It’s all coming at a time when many food banks are reporting that donations are way down. The federal government is trying to help. Earlier this month, the Secretary of Agriculture announced $2 billion in new funding to strengthen food supply chains, which will hopefully help trickle food down to pantries eventually.