Grocery, gas prices rise as hunger pains persist

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The number next to ‘TOTAL’ on receipts is rising at grocery stores and gas pumps, proving to be the latest pandemic hurdle for those facing dizzying financial woes.

Amid a crisis for millions of American families–many unemployed–food scarcity is a stress none should face.

In the wake of hardship, hundreds of cars continue to line up outside the Chesterfield Food Bank–off Iron Bridge Road–to receive food for the table, as the pandemic creeps into its one-year anniversary in Central Virginia.

“The same stories, over and over. Like, people needing food because there’s no work, there’s no jobs, and everything is going up in prices,” Xiomara Encarnacion told 8News while supervising volunteers at the food bank Friday night.

A godsend for many with on the brink, volunteers make runs to and from cars.

“I’m ready,” one enthusiastic volunteer said.

Encarnacion said carts of food will last a family of four one week, including meat and dairy products, as well as breads and fresh produce.

“The numbers of people needing food has not changed. It’s actually increasing,” she said.

More demand with more stress at the grocery store, where costs are up. Why?

Fingers point to Texas. The recent freezing temperatures shut down oil refineries, meaning the price to ship goods went up.

In turn, the trip to the grocery store has become more expensive.

At last Friday’s distribution event “…we served over 730 families,” Encarnacion said–noting there’s not immediate sign of numbers letting up.

Encarnacion said donations to the Chesterfield Food Bank ultimately serve around 35,000 to 40,000 people a month, at their several weekly distributions.

This time last last year: around 9,000 people served.

Although now may not be the time for holding hands, a helping hand makes a world of difference.

Volunteers and food donors can contact the food bank here.

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