JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Food banks are in high demand as American workers try to make ends meet again. Rapidly rising rents, high gas prices and high food costs are just a few of the reasons residents have fallen on hard times.

New4JAX spent time Thursday at a local food pantry where organizers say they are seeing families who have never struggled financially before turning to them for help.

Administrators of Jewish Family and Community Services’ Max Block Food Pantry say demand for food increased around the same time gasoline prices started to climb.

News4JAX spoke with families in need who say that without resources like food banks, their families would go without.

“The cost of living is up, but wages are not up, so it’s a struggle,” said Jacksonville resident Samuel Moten.

Moten is brutally honest about what all of America is going through: inflation at its highest level in 40 years, affecting everything from gas prices to food to rent. On Thursday, he and others were at the Max Block Food Pantry, where they serve about 200 families a week — families who, for the first time, are turning to handouts to put food on the table.

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“We’re seeing a lot of new faces, people, with nicer cars, people who aren’t used to looking for help, but with the way the gas has gone up, everything has gone up,” he said. said Karen McCants, supervisor at Max Block Food. Pantry.

McCants says the Max Block Food Pantry feeds the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week. She says the need for food has doubled compared to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same scene is repeated across the country, where food bank workers are predicting a tough summer, trying to get ahead of demand.

“You see people in a really low place,” McCants said. “And they are so grateful because they would be without.”

“For me, I don’t get food stamps, I don’t have any benefits, I’m a single man, so without that I probably wouldn’t eat to be honest,” Moten said. “It’s very helpful and we appreciate it.”

If you’re in a situation where you can donate non-perishable food or hygiene products, organizers say they need your donations and now is the time to donate – anticipating that inflation is here to stay for an unpredictable length of time.

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