Supply issues and inflation pose challenges for those helping others this Thanksgiving

Austin(KXAN) — Supply chain issues and inflation have even weighed on Meals on Wheels in Central Texas.

Volunteers at the nonprofit provided free hot meals to more than 500 seniors this Thanksgiving.

“Today, what’s interesting is that we can’t get turkey because of supply issues.” Meals on Wheels in Central Texas said Henry Van de Putte, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Rising food prices eat up more money, putting pressure on budgets.

“Overall, we now have about a 10 percent increase in costs,” Van de Putte said. “They just keep climbing.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his family attended Meals on Wheels in Central Texas Thursday, offering a Thanksgiving meal.

“For all Texans and all Americans, the cost of food has risen dramatically,” Governor Abbott said.

Sari Vatske, president and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank, said its needs are higher than at the height of the pandemic.

“With inflation and higher cost of living, we’re seeing pandemic levels of demand now,” she said. “While making sure families have a great holiday, we need to make sure we’re there for them all year round.”

“When it comes to volunteering, we’re really good at Thanksgiving,” Van de Putte said. “All the other days are really important for us to recruit more volunteers.”

Across town from Rodeo Austin, volunteers with turkey action Spent 600 turkeys on Wednesday to smoke and prepare for the homeless.

“We’re going to get these meals to people on the street, people in low-income housing, and delivered directly to their homes,” said Kevin Grogan, a board member for Action Turkey.

However, as costs climb and donations dwindle, most of these nonprofits need more volunteers.

“We need all the help we can get this holiday season to ensure our mission continues to expand,” Van de Putte said.

In the past year, Central Texas Food Bank Tell KXAN they served almost 46 million meals.

According to the food bank, nearly 437,000 people in its 21-county service area were food insecure in the 2022 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

That means 14 percent of Central Texans and 17.2 percent of children in our region are at risk of hunger, the food bank said.

The Central Texas Food Bank serves an area roughly twice the size of Massachusetts.

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