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Rising demand and inflation straining local pantries

QUINCY (WGEM) – Inflation is impacting those working to help the most vulnerable families in the tri-state, as local pantries say it’s harder for them to feed everyone.

Those at the Horizons Food pantry said they saw a sharp increase in the number of families in August and September, with the number of families served in one day rising to 47 at one point.

Aubrey Schluckebier, volunteer coordinator and assistant pantry manager, said there were so many people coming into the pantry that they had to turn some families away. To make sure everyone has the necessary food, she said they opened the pantry on Thursday.

She said demand started to return to normal in October which has helped their pantry recover, she said they are preparing for demand to increase again as the holidays approach .

“Between price inflation in general and then, I’ve heard several different people note that they’re not getting as much money as before from the government,” Schluckebier said.

She said they kept their shelves stocked through community donations like food drives.

Horizons isn’t the only organization feeling the pinch of inflation. Kidzpacks, which provides food to students at Quincy Public Schools, said it was paying more for food and seeing more children in need.

Volunteer Megan Whitney said providing up to 41,000 bags of food for 1,030 children for the school year, up 100 from last year.

She said inflation has made it more expensive to buy food, which means they’re buying smarter, benefiting from Blessing-Rieman and Lincoln Douglas Elementary food drives, and implementing other strategies to help offset the costs.

“We recently received a grant from the DOT Foods Charitable Committee, which was very generous, as well as the QMG Foundation, so we have great support from local businesses,” Whitney said. “We’re just looking to increase community support. It’s about $100 to sponsor a child for the whole year in our program,” Whitney said.

She said that as the holidays approach, they will send extra food home with the children, which will incur additional costs. She said $3 can feed a child for the weekend and $50 can help a single student for the semester.

Those interested in donating to KidzPacks can go to their website and those wishing to donate to Horizons can go to their address at 224 S. 8th Street or you can call them at 217-224-5530.

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