Supply chain issues impacting Chicago food banks as prices soar

Cooking oil, diapers hard to come by

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Supply chain issues 2021: Chicago food banks struggling to feed families as prices rise
Supply chain issues are impacting Chicago's food banks as demand and prices soar.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Global supply chain problems are impacting something you normally wouldn't think of - local food banks.

Food is costing more and getting enough of what is needed to feed families is now becoming more challenging.

The economy may be rebounding but for some challenges remain.

In fact, the Pilsen Food Pantry is trying ration what's available over five days as the demand for food and supplies has grown in recent weeks.

"That might mean closing the doors one day early," said Pilsen Food Pantry manager Steve Wiley.

According to Wiley, produce always goes quickly and some things like adult and baby diapers and cooking oil are hard to come by.

"Cooking oil is really expensive right now and there are definite supply chain issues with that so I believe I have nine cases of oil coming tomorrow it might just not show up. And there's nothing anybody can do about it," said Wiley

The Greater Chicago Food Depository supplies the Pilsen Food Pantry and hundreds of other pantries and programs in the area.

According to a spokesperson, their food costs are up twice as much as before the pandemic, especially in things like milk. And at the same time they are giving food at levels they have never seen before.

"We are still serving well above pre-pandemic averages the estimate is that more than 600,000 people across Chicago and Cook County will experience food insecurity this year," said Jim Conwell, Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Some national orders were cancelled when the costs became too much due to supply chain issues. And instead, the food depository is turning to local vendors and local donors.

"This crisis is far from over and we are spending more money on food to insure we can supply food pantries across our community," said Conwell. "We are also spending money on the root causes of hunger."

Conwell said they have been able to keep up with demand due to the generosity of donors and he hopes the people will continue to be generous in the months to come.