Harvesters food bank, which serves 760 member organizations in 26 counties in Missouri and Kansas, is being squeezed by high inflation and reduced federal funding. “We’ve sort of gone from a pandemic crisis to an economic crisis because of inflation, so the need remains high out there,” spokeswoman Sarah Biles said.
True Faith Outreach Ministries Church on 27th Street in Kansas City is one of the Harvesters’ clients and has been a Harvesters’ associate for more than 30 years. “They’re the main entity that we get product from to feed the neighborhood, the community,” Pastor Darryl McFadden said. “And if they’re struggling, you can believe we’re struggling, too.”
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According to Harvesters’ records, the non-profit received $6.8 million in government funding in fiscal year 2021 and $9.6 million in fiscal year 2022. A good chunk of that money came from the federal CARES Act to deal with the pandemic However, in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, Harvesters expects $4.2 million in government support.
In government food support, Harvesters received 23.9 million pounds in fiscal year 2021 and 9.8 million pounds in fiscal year 2022. Harvesters is expecting 7.7 million pounds this current fiscal year.
Although Harvesters is getting less government help than during the pandemic, the non-profit has grown, adding 60 new member agencies in the last year. Biles said Harvesters also is paying 30 percent more money for food than before the pandemic because of inflation.
Harvesters already has bought turkeys and chickens for the upcoming holiday.” And we’re paying about $90,000 more this year than we paid last year for those,” she said.
If Harvesters buys food, member agencies must pay a fee to purchase it. Only donated food to Harvesters is given to member agencies free of charge. Biles said Harvesters’ size allows the non-profit to buy food in bulk, store it and then deliver it to agency partners who distribute the food. “That’s really the most efficient model out there as far as getting food where it’s needed most,” she said.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.harvesters.org.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice News