Long Island Cares has served Long Islanders in need for over 40 years. Throughout our history, we have seen many challenges to the stability of our communities, but the current rise in grocery prices is unlike anything we have ever experienced.
According to recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of groceries in the United States has risen 8.5% over the past year, marking the biggest annual increase in a decade.
The rising cost of food is significantly impacting Long Islanders, particularly those who are already struggling to make ends meet. Seniors, who are among the most vulnerable members of our community, are especially hard hit by these increases.
The most significant increase in prices has been seen in meat products, including beef, pork, and poultry. Just take a look at some of the numbers as reported by the U.S.D.A.:
This is partly due to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which have resulted in labor shortages and reduced production. Additionally, extreme weather events such as droughts and wildfires have damaged crops and made it more difficult to raise livestock, leading to further price increases.
For example, according to a recent CNN article, in 2021, “severe drought in the West [U.S.] forced 40% of farmers to sell off part of their herds, according to an A.F.B.F. survey. Now, inflationary costs for things like feed, fertilizer, and fuel are only making the situation worse.”
Additionally, the price of eggs has risen a terrifying 36% just since March 2022. It is predicted to rise another 17.8% in 2023 due to supply shortages, avian flu outbreaks, and the increased price of gasoline to actually ship farm products to stores.
In fact, according to a Time Magazine article, grocery prices are rising faster than ever before. The article also includes firsthand accounts from Americans across the country struggling with inflation’s impact on their grocery bills. Check it out to learn more and gain insight into this growing issue affecting households nationwide.
But there is some hope on the horizon. The U.S.D.A. Food Price Outlook predicts stabilized prices for the year ahead. While the decrease is slight, it is still significant.
While it’s not a complete reversal, it’s still a step in the right direction to ease the burden of groceries on Long Island families.
Long Island Cares is also working hard to respond to this crisis and ensure our neighbors can access nutritious food. We have launched several new initiatives to help families stretch their food budgets, including cooking demonstrations and nutrition education classes that teach families how to prepare healthy meals on a budget. We are also working with local farmers to bring more fresh produce to food pantries and soup kitchens across Long Island.
However, we cannot do this work alone. We need the support of our community to continue providing food assistance to those who need it most. Long Island Cares relies on the generosity of our donors and volunteers to ensure that our neighbors in need have access to nutritious food. Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.