SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Inflation is having an impact on families all across KELOLAND, making organizations like the 211 Helpline Center a vital resource for families needing assistance.
The staff at the Helpline Center work hard to get people the resources they need. With the rising cost of food, they are helping people who previously haven’t needed assistance.
“Inflation has impacted a lot of people’s budgets, especially with food. Grocery bills have doubled for families. And so even families that are income wise well off, they’re still struggling to put food on the table,” says database manager Chenise Weber.
The helpline says that 17% of the calls they get are about food resources, and within that, the majority of them are food pantry related.
“About 79% of the callers are asking for food pantry resources,” says Weber.
Just 3% of food calls have to do with getting government assistance, like SNAP, to buy groceries. For many people, the application process can be a barrier.
“We know that inflation is affecting everyone right now and the state and federal food programs aren’t able to adjust for that with their income guidelines. So the burden then falls on the local food pantries in the area to help those who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for assistance with food,” says Weber.
“And I think with food sometimes it comes up quickly. And so then that’s why when you need food, you’re hungry and you need food right away, and so that is why some of those food pantries are available,” says Vice President of Program Development Betsy Schuster.
The Helpline Center takes about 1,500 calls a week, which means they get around 200 calls a week about accessing food pantries.