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Food Bank of Western Massachusetts feeling impact of inflation

An employee of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts works in the organization's warehouse in Hatfield, Massachusetts.
KEVIN GUTTING
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette
An employee of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts works in the organization's warehouse in Hatfield, Massachusetts.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts says inflation is impacting its work providing food to low-income people.

The food bank supplies more than a 100 food pantries across the region. Last year, it distributed almost 14 million pounds of food.

Christina Maxwell, director of programs for the non-profit, said higher prices are being felt on multiple fronts.

"We're not able to purchase as much food as we normally would and gas prices are having an impact on our ability to distribute food as well," she said.

The food bank also helps people apply for federal food benefits. Maxwell said her organization is hearing from more people who say they've never had to do that before.

"They never really felt like they needed to," she said. "And even some people who said 'probably I would have qualified but I didn't apply' and now they're feeling like they have to — like they have no other option. It's just gotten that dire for them."

Maxwell says families are also being impacted by the end of some federal pandemic-related benefits, including the expanded child tax credit.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education, and politics. Working with correspondent Morley Safer, he reported from locations across the United States as well as from India, Costa Rica, Italy, and Iraq.