Feeding a large household is getting more expensive to provide at home and even more to eat out.
In 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates grocery costs will go up between 2% and 3%, and eating out will rise between 4% and 5%.
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Eric Cooper with the SA Food Bank says all those costs translate into more people needing assistance.
“It means that families are leaving the grocery store with less food in their grocery cart, spending the same amount of money. And to make up the difference, they’re coming to the food bank for help,” Cooper said.
Cooper said some people are turning to cheaper belly-filling foods rather than nourishing foods, which could impact their health in the long term.
Robbie Rodgers, chef and kitchen manager for Corazon Ministries at Travis Parch Church, is in charge of feeding more than 120 people daily on a budget. Aside from purchasing food from the SA Food Bank, he also shops around to get better deals.
“For me, as a chef who buys in bulk, I’ve got to make the decision, whether I want to pay like a few cents less or carry more boxes out with me and make more trips,” Rodgers said.
His menu also has to get creative based on what he can afford. He says families can start by repurposing some scraps.
“We save onion scraps, carrot scraps for stock,” he said. “We take fruit that we couldn’t use, and we save it. We coated it in sugar to macerate, and then it preserves for a little bit, and once we get enough, we turn into like a pie or tart. And that helps, too.”
Sometimes he says milk about to expire becomes yogurt. He has a lot of other tricks, and he welcomes anyone who wants to learn how to stretch their food budget and cooking imagination to volunteer at Corazon Ministries Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cooper offers the following suggestions:
- Go grocery shopping at a traditional grocery store and plan a weekly meal so you know which items to get, and make time to follow through with the meal preparation.
- Shop off-brand.
- Try frozen or canned fruits and vegetables for longer shelf life.
Anyone in need of food can reach out to the SA Food Bank. There are several distribution events set for this weekend and every week, listed on their website. Click on the Food Assistance button and enter your ZIP code.