One of the worst droughts in U.S. history has pushed rising food costs onto East Texas Food Bank’s radar, and it could lead to difficult times for local food pantries.
The U.S. Drought Monitor reports about 60 percent of the country is suffering under drought conditions, and more than 20 percent of the nation is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions — the two worst stages of drought — and more than half of that area will be experiencing these conditions for at least six more months.
The drought prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forewarn consumers to expect to pay 3 to 4 percent more for groceries in the coming year.
This new challenge comes in the midst of already hefty fuel prices and a downward trend in donations to the East Texas Food Bank, which supplies much of the food for pantries across this part of the state.
Karolyn Davis, ETFB communications director, said they have no choice but to buy food to make up for the lack of donations.
“We have had to purchase more food this year than ever before,” Davis said. “When donations aren’t there and demand is, that’s what happens.”