Facts on Food Shortages

If you’ve been to the grocery store these past few months, you’ve seen fewer sale items, higher prices, and less stock.

It’s shocking to see items we once took for granted shoot up in price or disappear from shelves.

We all know the causes: Inflation, food shortages, and supply chain interruptions.

But have you thought about how that affects food banks?

As with you, it’s getting more expensive (and more complex) for Long Island Cares to purchase large amounts of food. Many of the producers we regularly buy from are being forced to raise prices to stay afloat.

According to our Chief Procurement and Supply Chain Officer Bob LaBarbara, it’s been harder than ever to acquire the foods we need to help our community.

  • Food provided by the USDA to Long Island Cares is down 50%
  • Overall food distribution to the community is down a staggering 29%

The rising cost of food is affecting our donors as well. While we are seeing a consistent number of total donors from years past, the amount of food and monetary donations coming in is down by more than 15%.

Donors who would toss a few extra cans of food in their cart to donate to us or drop $5 in the donation bin simply cannot afford to do so anymore.

Even turkeys, a staple of so many Thanksgivings, are up 70% in price.

To make matters even more complicated, we are also seeing a rising need in our community.

Chief Programs Officer Dr. Jessica Rosati says that compared to last year, in 2022 we’ve seen nearly a 77% increase in the number of visitors to Long Island Cares.

To get deeper to the heart of the problem, we recently conducted a survey titled “The State of Food Insecurity on Long Island,” where we surveyed more than 1,000 visitors to our pantries.

Out of those responses, 42% noted they had been visiting a pantry for less than a year.

Many of the newcomers visiting Long Island Cares are simply hard-working families struggling with inflation. They go to grocery stores looking for deals but end up visiting a pantry just to feed the household and keep their fridges stocked.

In fact, 40% of people surveyed – both new and returning clients – said they visit the pantry primarily because of the cost of food.

Notice a connection?

With winter on the horizon (and the need for heat), we must assume the demand will grow as people struggle to pay bills.

But there is a small silver lining and a way out of this mess. It’s you. You can make a difference. You can donate your time to volunteer and help get much-needed food out into the community. Your food donations will be distributed so quickly they will likely end up in the hands of a family in need within 24 hours. Your monetary donations will stretch further with Long Island Cares than they ever could in a grocery store.

Instead of skipping extra cans of food, consider donating the old cost to Long Island Cares. While prices are rising for everyone, we can still rely on government contracts to help your dollars go further.

Right now, $2 = a meal for someone in need

$10 feeds a family

$50 provides a family with dinner for a week!

$100 feeds a family with three meals a day for a week!

We’ll continue doing our part in the fight against food insecurity, but we can’t do it alone. Your support means the world to us and the 228,000 food-insecure Long Islanders needing our help.


Senior Hunger on Long Island