Hampton Roads food banks, residents feeling impacts of inflation

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Posted at 8:50 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 22:20:11-05

NORFOLK, Va. - From grocery store aisles to gas pumps, folks around the country are seeing prices rise as inflation continues to impact many, including those in Hampton Roads.

“I’m just trying to make it,” Norfolk resident Al Whaff said.

Whaff, 75, retired and on Social Security, is feeling inflation’s impacts firsthand.

“Everything’s going up! I’m talking about meat, cereal, eggs, milk - everything,” he said. “I can’t eat out as much as I used to, and I can’t buy as many clothes like I used to.”

For the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, first the pandemic, and then inflation, have been a one-two punch, especially with a steady demand during the holidays and start of 2022.

“The food bank has had to purchase much more food in the last year than we have ever had to purchase before,” Emma Inman, Chief Impact Officer of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, told News 3. “It’s difficult these days for low-income folks to afford to be able to put healthy, nutritious food on their table.”

For the food bank, their biggest issue related to inflation has been food prices.

Inman told News 3, two years ago, a case of corn cost about $13. That’s compared to its cost of $26.26 today.

“That kind of rise in prices really impacts our ability to be able to put healthy, nutritious food on people’s tables,” she said.

Bob McNab, an economics professor at Old Dominion University, said consumers typically hunt for bargains after the holidays.

But inflation being higher has made bargains hard to find.

McNab added increasing inflation means more stress on lower-income families.

“Everybody is getting squeezed somewhat by inflation,” McNab said. “Now, you have to pay more to go to work. You have to pay more to take the kids to school or take them to a basketball game. Families are facing more difficult choices this year than they faced last year in terms of spending.”

Overall, McNab expects inflation this year will be less than last year, but also suggests budgeting for uncertainty in 2022.

As for Whaff, he said he plans to stretch the best way he can.

“I’m trying to save all of the change I can get my hands on,” Whaff said.

Related: Governor-elect Youngkin packs meals at local food bank, talks food insecurity and inflation