Inflation affects the food banks in Olive Branch

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:00 PM CDT

DESOTO, Miss. (WMC) - As inflation continues to climb, places like Olive Branch Food Ministry are seeing an increase in people experiencing food insecurity.

Sheila Sneed, who heads the Olive Branch Food Ministry 10, said they’ve seen a steady increase of people coming to their pantry every month this year.

She said in January they served 163 families. In June, that number rose to 226.

“That’s quite a big jump,” Sneed said. “By the end of the year we’re probably going to hit 300 and we haven’t done that in a long time.”

Sneed said many of those customers are coming to Olive Branch Food Ministries for the first time like Christopher Hall.

“Prices for food are so high that I really didn’t know if I was going to make it through the week,” Hall said.

A 2019 study by the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that over 15% of Mississippians suffer from food insecurity, the highest state in the nation.

According to another study by Feeding America, DeSoto County’s food insecurity rate is 12.5%.

This is less than most Mississippi counties, but still not good when looking at national averages.

Sneed said they’ve been able to serve everyone who comes to the pantry even though supply chain shortages have caused some anxiety.

She credits the generosity of the Olive Branch community and some divine help.

“I don’t panic anymore because God’s got this,” Sneed said. “So far, He’s proved me right.”

Customers, like Hall, said the generosity is helping their anxiety as well.

“Now that I do have some food this is one less worry for me right now.”

The Olive Branch Food Ministry is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, and on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

They only ask you to bring your Social Security card and proof that you reside in DeSoto County.

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