Inflation impacts Channel One Food Bank, donations down over half

(ABC 6 News) – Channel One Food Bank is joining just about every other food bank in Minnesota in calling attention to how much inflation and supply chain issues have impacted their ability to feed the community.

About 30 volunteers work on the Kingdom Garden at Autumn Ridge Church, and see this increase in food insecurity in Rochester. The Kingdom Garden grows and donates fresh produce to local food shelves.

"I believe last year we donated, I think it was right at 30,000 pounds," said Ken Dose, a volunteer of six years.

Produce that, with skyrocketing prices in the grocery store, Channel One Food Bank desperately needs.

"We have less produce options. We are also having to maybe cut back on things that are non-food items like toilet paper or household supplies that are also very needed," said Jessica Sund, director of development and communications at Channel One Food Bank.

Channel One is seeing a 40% increase in visits to the pantry in Olmsted County. At the same time, they are seeing a 50% decrease in government commodities and a 60% decrease in manufacturer and retail donations.

"We are worried for our neighbors and the kids, especially, who are out of school," Sund said.

Channel One also said they will have to spend an additional $1.7 million to keep their bank stocked this coming year.

While volunteers like Dose will help as much as they can, they are also concerned about the increase in need.

"I think the need is really going to ramp up this year with inflation. This is what the church should, and needs to do for the community," Dose said of the garden.

On Wednesday, advocates from Channel One’s partner, Second Harvest Heartland, urged Minnesota lawmakers to come back together for a special session and dedicate some of the state’s surplus to food banks in need.

Donations to Channel One can be made here.