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Inflation putting stress on pockets of organization trying to help as the holidays approach in Mecklenburg County

Sticker Shock: Inflation is hitting home for Hearts and Hands Food Pantry in Huntersville.
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:57 PM EST
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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Higher prices at the gas pump and nearly every aspect of life are impacting people on all economic levels, and it’s not just people hurting, but organizations with a mission of helping people.

Inflation is hitting home for Hearts and Hands Food Pantry in Huntersville.

Although it strives to help people in need year-round, inflation is slowly putting them in need of supplies and money as the holidays quickly approach - a time when the need for help is at its highest.

As Hearts and Hands Food Pantry prepares goods for clients - they’re also in need as inflation has hit close to home.

“People are definitely feeling the pinch and it’s frustrating to be honest,” said Kenya Joseph, President of Hearts and Hands Food Pantry.

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics released data showing food prices in the south increased by 5 percent over the last 12 months.

As food prices rise, donations have decreased at the pantry, and they’re seeing 10-20 more families on average every week.

“It’s keeping us going man, it’s keeping us going,” John Lindsey of Charlotte, who relies on the pantry, said.

“I have to do this right now, I won’t be on it forever because I’m looking for employment, but yes, it is a blessing and it’s desperately needed to help many people,” a woman receiving help from the pantry said.

Hearts and Hands Food Pantry serves upward of 400 people.

Due to supply chain issues, they are seeing shortages of toilet paper, canned vegetables, cat food and meats.

“This is where the whole inflation and the whole supply chain shortage is affecting organizations like us,” Sandra Marks, the executive director of Hearts and Hands Food Pantry added,

Since donations are down, leaders of the nonprofit are using their own money at times to buy supplies and serve people at the same level.

“Also, because we have a delivery service, we’re affected by rising gas costs and we’re trying to figure out how to manage that with our volunteers that drives as well,” Kenya Joseph added.

Supply chain problems and rising inflation have made conditions during the pandemic go from bad to worse for the less fortunate.

“It’s something we have to push through and do everything that we can until we can’t anymore,” Joseph said.

“You know I wish I was in a position where I could donate rather than come to be served, but we’ll get there,” Lindsey said.

Hearts and Hands Food Pantry is worried about the outlook for the future if inflation continues to rise, adding that monetary donations are needed right now to help them carry out their mission.

“All of this is affecting us in ways that you know, we’re a little bit worried about….what’s going to happen if this continues to increase because it doesn’t seem like inflation is going to come down anytime soon,” Sandra Marks said.

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