Need for food assistance in Clark, Champaign counties is rising

Second Harvest Food Bank seeks support so it can provide more.

The need for help in Clark and Champaign counties has increased, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign & Logan Counties is always in need of donations to help more people with food assistance.

Tyra Jackson, executive director of SHFB, said they “need people’s support more than ever.”

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“Donations are needed more than ever. We are witnessing an increase in people seeking assistance,” she said. “In addition, people are now using our programs as their sole resource for food.”

The food bank serves around 50,000 now, but before the pandemic, that number was about 37,000 people. They also served between 8-12,000 people a month.

With inflation, the lack of resources for people that have decreased and some of the benefits no longer available, the food bank is now seeing more families, seniors, seniors taking care of their grandchildren, larger families, as well as people who didn’t need assistant before.

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Inflation has “absolutely” affected the nonprofit as it costs them more to get and keep items in stock also due to supply chain issues, Jackson said. They normally have at least three months of food on hand, but are now below a month.

“When you go to the grocery, you see those increases, and we are feeling that same thing. We are not able to make a dollar stretch like we were. For every $1 we receive, we used to be able to provide six meals. Now, every dollar provides four meals,” she said. “The cost of the things that people need, what they expect to receive from us, has increased quite a bit.”

To help, the SHFB will host its last fundraiser of the year next week. The annual Thanks for Giving Dessert Auction will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at Mother Stewart’s Brewing, 102 W. Columbia St.

This is the first time the food bank is holding this event since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We are excited to be able to hold it again since we haven’t been able to hold it for the last couple of years,” said Tyra Jackson, executive director of the SHFB. “It’s always just a fun events to come out and have a good time and raise money for our cause.”

The event is a live auction with a variety of desserts for people to bid on, including cookies, pies, cakes, brownies and family recipes. Nearly 30 to 35 community members and businesses donated a dessert for the auction, and Mother Stewart’s will also donate $1 for every beer sale to the food bank.

“It’s a time where people can learn about what the food bank does and help give back in a small way,” Jackson said. “And it’s the perfect time because it’s two days before Thanksgiving.”

The food bank hopes to raise $15,000 this year, which is close to the amount they raised in 2019. The funds will be used to help the food bank and pay for some of the holiday meals they give out to the community.

If you are interested in donating a dessert, call the food bank at (937) 325-8715. For more information, visit the SHFB’s Facebook or event page.

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