Families struggle to put food on the table ahead of holiday season

(ABC 6 News) – With inflation, rising prices and costs remaining consistently high, a growing number of families are feeling the financial pinch.

Food banks are doing all that they can to help, but the goods they pay for are costing more as well. And, Tuesday night, community members did all they could to make sure kids aren’t feeling the stress ahead of Thanksgiving.

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A teacher at Gage Elementary School in Rochester reached out to the owner of Chez Bojji, a popular restaurant, to come up with a way to make sure these students received a holiday meal no matter what their families financial situation may be.

Students received a five-star treatment with a full holiday meal some might not have otherwise gotten. The meal was complete with service, wine glasses full of juice and a good time with their classmates.

The last few years have been tough on families and it only seems to be getting worse.

“I think with just the increasing costs of food, of housing, it just gets difficult, especially for families to be able to have food on the table or roof over their heads,” explained Major Candace Voeller with the Rochester Salvation Army.

Major Voeller says the Salvation Army has seen triple the amount of people visiting the food shelf in the last few months. It is a similar story at the Channel One Regional Food Bank in Rochester.

“The need continues to rise, and I think it will especially in these last coming months of the holidays when people really want to experience food that is meaningful to them with their families,” said Jessica Sund, the director of development and communications with Channel One.

This year, there have been 25% more household visits to the food bank compared with 2021. Many of the visitors had never been to a food bank before this year.

Many people have turned to government programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The federal government does ensure that we have enough funding to keep providing food to people as long as people need it,” added Tikki Brown, the assistant commissioner of children and family services with the Minn. Dept. of Human Services.

In Minnesota almost 19,000 more people received assistance through SNAP compared with last year.

With inflation at devastating highs, it is also difficult for non-profit organizations to keep up with the costs and demand for food as well.

“To have the demand to keep the food shelves stocked with a good variety for individuals to be able to choose from is a challenge that we really work to maintain just a good selection for individuals to have,” added Major Voeller.