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Economy

Food Banks Desperate For Help

As holidays approach, some food banks worry they won’t have enough stuffing and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Food Banks

With food prices climbing to unprecedented levels, and severe supply chain troubles, food banks across the United States are struggling to feed families. Many Americans are frustrated with the soaring costs of food, but for families who already experience “food insecurity,” increased uncertainty is making their lives even more stressful. 

AP News reports, “Supply chain disruptions, lower inventory and labor shortages have all contributed to increased costs for charities on which tens of millions of people in the U.S. rely on for nutrition. Donated food is more expensive to move because transportation costs are up, and bottlenecks at factories and ports make it difficult to get goods of all kinds.”

According to the chief operating officer of the nonprofit Feeding America, Katie Fitzgerald, food banks expanded in response to the increased demands that resulted from the pandemic. Some food banks are making substitutions or stocking smaller sizes of food products such as canned goods. 

The Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland from the San Francisco Bay Area is reportedly spending an additional $60,000 a month on food costs, and $1 million a month to distribute 4.5 million pounds of food. Before the pandemic, however, they were spending just a quarter of that price for 2.5 million pounds of food. Oakland food bank’s Director of Community Engagement, Michael Altfest, explained that “the cost of canned green beans and peaches is up nearly 9% for them; [canned] tuna and frozen tilapia up more than 6%; and a case of 5-pound frozen chickens for holiday tables is up 13%. The price for dry oatmeal has climbed 17%.” 

In Colorado Springs, at the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, CEO Lynne Telford shares the staggering statistic that the cost of a truckload of peanut butter is up 80% from two years ago, mac and cheese is up 19% from one year ago, and ground beef went up 5% in just three months. 

The vice president of sales for Transnational Foods Inc., Bryan Nichols, shared that “[an] average container coming from Asia prior to COVID would cost about $4,000. Today, that same container is about $18,000.”

“It’s unclear to what extent other concurrent government aid, including an expanded free school lunch program in California and an increase in benefits for people in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will offset rising food prices. An analysis by the Urban Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. found that while most households are expected to receive sufficient maximum benefits for groceries, a gap still exists in 21 percent of U.S. rural and urban counties,” according to AP News. 

Families across the country are worried about being able to put food on the table on any given day, let alone the upcoming holidays. According to Feeding America, “42 million people may face hunger in the U.S. — including more than 13 million children.” They add, “Hunger knows no boundaries — it touches every community in the U.S., including your own.” 

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Economy

CO leaders stating they won’t use any city money to support migrants or to alleviate the crisis in Denver

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In February 2018, Denver city leaders sent a valentine to foreigners interested in relocating to the progressive mountain city and a message to any elected officials looking to stop them:

Draped on Denver’s City and County building was a large, blue banner: “Denver ❤️ Immigrants.”

Then-mayor Michael Hancock event posted on social media that it was a statement of “love” to let immigrants know that Denver is “an open and welcoming city.” However, six years later, Denver residents are facing an uphill battle of repercussions from the liberal leaders’ actions. Amid a crisis that has seen more than 40,000 migrants arrive in the city since late 2022, Denver leaders have a new message: If you stay in Denver, you will suffer.

“The opportunities are over,” an official with new mayor Mike Johnston’s office told a gathering of migrants in Spanish inside a city shelter in late March, according to a video obtained by a local television station. “New York gives you more. Chicago gives you more.”

On Monday, Douglas County filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado and its Democratic governor Jared Polis in Denver District Court over the issue.

The lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of two state laws passed by Democrats in the Colorado legislature: a 2019 law that restricted the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials in civil cases, and a 2023 law that prohibits local governments from entering or renewing detention agreements with ICE and that prohibits them from funding immigration detention facilities owned or operated privately.

“The nation is facing an immigration crisis. The nation, the state, and local governments need to cooperate and share resources to address this crisis,” the lawsuit states, adding that the 2019 and 2023 laws in question “prohibit the necessary cooperation and create dangerous conditions for the State and migrants.”

Teal contends that “the state doesn’t have the inherent authority to limit the ability of a local jurisdiction to work with any agency, regardless be it local, state, or federal.” By doing so, he said, “the state is inhibiting the local communities, the local jurisdictions from providing for the safety” of their residents.

“We are seeing what is going on in Denver, and we do not want that coming here to Douglas County. It is not safe,” Douglas County commissioner Lora Thomas, a former state trooper, said during a Monday morning press conference announcing the lawsuit.

Douglas commissioner Abe Laydon said on Monday that the lawsuit “is about putting America first and about putting Coloradans first.” As a Latino, he said, he recognizes “the plight of those seeking refuge and asylum here in the United States,” but he added that “Douglas County is a place where quality of life comes first.”

National Review reports on the mile-high city’s crisis:

In January, the city was housing and feeding almost 5,000 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, in hotel shelters. Other migrants slept in tents on sidewalks and in parking lots, adding a new wrinkle to Denver’s ongoing struggles with panhandling and squalid homeless camps.

At intersections throughout Denver, migrants with water bottles and squeegees head into traffic to try to make a few bucks washing drivers’ windshields.

To address a migrant-driven financial crunch, the city is now cutting hours at local rec centers, slashing park programming, and freezing hiring in some departments. To save a little money, the city has decided against planting flowers in some of its parks and medians this spring.

The migrant crisis has cost the Denver region at least $170 million, according to a conservative estimate by Colorado’s Common Sense Institute, which looked at city spending as well as school and hospital costs, and is almost surely an undercount.

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