PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new report from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank shows nearly one in three households struggle to put enough food on the table.
Even though unemployment was lower and wages were higher for many workers this year, household budgets were “stretched thin” by inflation in rent, fuel and food, according to the 2022 Status Report on Hunger.
Food prices in Rhode Island went up 13% from July 2021 to July 2022. As a result, low- and moderate-income families are struggling to buy the food they need.
“We thought that the economy was improving, there are more people working, but their wages, even with increased wages, aren’t enough to keep up with the high cost of living,” said Andrew Schiff, CEO of the R.I. Community Food Bank.
Story continues below.
The report shows that food insecurity is now three times more prevalent than before the pandemic, with people of color more likely to be affected.
According to the report, hunger is also high in families who have children, with 41% of those households unable to meet basic food needs compared to 25% last year.
This all comes as key federal and state programs that were initiated during the pandemic have all ended. The absence of those programs, along with inflation, has made things worse.
While food costs continue to go up, more Rhode Islanders are looking for food assistance.
There are a number of organizations helping their neighbors who are struggling and ways people can get help.
12 News will be highlighting those efforts in our latest 12 on 12 Digital Original “Neighbors in Need,” which launches Wednesday on WPRI.com.