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Food pantries across the Portland metro struggle to serve the community amid rising food prices

Food pantries across the Portland metro area struggle to keep up with the growing need with the rising cost of food.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The rising cost of food is making it tough for many Portland area non-profits to keep up with the growing need. Anina Estrem is the operations manager at Friends in Service to Humanity, a grocery store style food pantry in Vancouver. She said the amount of people that use the food pantry continues to rise. Items like peanut butter and canned vegetables are becoming harder to get because of the price. She said the inflation is coming at a terrible time because the busy holiday season is here.

"Things like frozen meat we would love to have more of but we cannot afford to purchase it at the scale we need," Estrem said. "We can purchase some of the less expensive items, cranberry sauce we were able to buy this year but we couldn't buy enough turkeys for everyone."

RELATED: Portland nonprofit Feed the Mass struggling to keep up with increased need amid inflation costs

The Sunshine Division, a food relief organization in Portland is having the same issue. The organization has two food pantries serving more people than ever. Executive Director Kyle Camberg said thousands will get a Thanksgiving food box next week. He said if it's harder for people to donate because of food prices, the Sunshine Division will not have as much produce. 

"It's harder for us to get the resources," Camberg said. "It's more expensive for us to package the resources. We are serving more than four thousand households than we did in 2019. All of those factors together are a very dangerous equation for us."

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Randy Black uses the Friends in Service to Humanity food pantry when he needs it. He has a family and a job but struggles to make ends meet.

"You earn it, you spend it," Black said. "We are just lucky to have places like this to help out the community. During these times of inflation, communities come together to help each other out. I'm just using it as the blessing it is."

Both organizations are accepting both monetary and food donations at the links listed below:

Friends in Service to Humanity donations  

The Sunshine Division donations

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