COLORADO, USA — It's been a painful part of the week lately, filling up at the gas pump.
Gas prices increased more than 70 cents this month, averaging about $4.77 per gallon in Colorado, according to AAA.
Between surging gas prices, higher food costs and an overall increase in people needing services, the economic challenges are mounting at Food Bank of the Rockies.
"Inflation is a huge challenge for us right now," said Aditi Desai, vice president of marketing and communications for the Food Bank of the Rockies. “Canned fruit is costing us 30% more to purchase. Ground beef and other proteins are increased as well and vegetable oil is about 54% more right now."
The food bank's mobile food pantries alone serve 600,000 meals each month across 70 sites in Colorado and Wyoming. That requires a lot of gas, which is costing them 40% more this year than in 2021.
“For just our mobile pantry program, we drive 12,000 miles each month to be able to truck the food to the locations where we distribute it," said Desai.
The need in the community is great. Food Bank of the Rockies' fleet of more than 40 vehicles are loaded up and distributing meals nearly every day.
In March, they distributed 30% more food which equates to about 175,000 meals daily.
“We’re spending $1.3 million each month right now to purchase food and that’s triple what we were spending in 2019," she said. "Some months our freight costs were up by about 60%."
Desai said 1 in 8 Coloradoans are food insecure. It's even higher for children, with 1 in 7 kids experiencing hunger.
"It's our mission to go wherever we're needed most and so regardless of the high prices of gas right now, we're committed to showing up in our communities, especially if the need is high," said Desai.
As prices continue to soar, Food Bank of the Rockies needs support from those who can give either time or money.
"As little as $25 will help us distribute enough food for 100 meals," said Desai. "We're going to hope that community supporters will continue joining our efforts to get the food we need out into the community."
9NEWS is helping to support Food Bank of the Rockies with our 9Cares Colorado Shares Food Drive.
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