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Portland food pantry affected by supply chain issues

In 2020, Lift UP provided food for more than 12,000 low income people. The need is increasing, but supply chain issues have become a huge problem.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Supply chain issues and rising food costs are affecting a local organization that provides food to low income people. 

Lift UP served more than 12,000 people in 2020. The need is growing, according to the Executive Director Stephanie Barr, and price increases and supply chain issues are making it difficult to meet the need. 

"We have actually had to spend more money purchasing food than ever before," Barr said.

Barr said there's been a 21% increase in demand for food this year. She said Lift UP usually relies on grocery store partnerships, but things are changing.

"There's everything from labor supply issues, so farmers not having the resources to harvest food, to disruptions in transporting food," Barr said.

Barr said in the past, 60% of the food was sourced from places like the Oregon Food Bank and grocery stores. Now, there's less food left over to give to people who are hungry. The rising cost of food is also an issue.

RELATED: US consumer prices soared 6.2% in past year, most since 1990

"We do have other bulk supply places we are purchasing from, and they are in conversation with us about their costs going up and needing to increase costs for us," Barr said. 

Cecilia Estraviz is the warehouse director for Lift UP. She said not only are supply chain issues affecting food supplies, donations have also gone down. She said the organization is doing the best it can to keep up.

"I can not tell you how many folks tell me this is the only food they receive each month," Estraviz said.

Lift Up delivers food once a month to clients, many of which go to people living in affordable housing buildings in Portland. 

The organization is in need of donations and volunteers.

RELATED: Portland emergency food program seeing more than 10 times as many people as it did pre-pandemic