Our opinion: Rising need a concerning sign

We all know things aren’t great right now no matter what the economists in Washington, D.C., say.

Prices are up on everything and a lot of people are struggling, including right here in our area. But sometimes it isn’t until you hear the right number that the struggles of the local economy crystalize. When the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania says it’s seeing a 25.3% increase in the level of need across the region in 2024 compared to 2023, that’s saying something.

After all, if you listen to the economists, things are supposed to be getting better. For many, it’s getting worse.

There are ways we can help. Donations are always accepted since Second Harvest’s food costs have increased from $1.7 million in 2019 to $3.2 million this year. The costs of storing and transporting food has increased, as well.

“For individuals who want to help, we are always looking for volunteers to aid us at distributions or in our warehouse,” said Alex Bohman, Second Harvest digital media and communications coordinator. “People can also host a fundraiser or a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania or donate directly.”

The need is hitting Pennsylvania particularly hard. A November Consumer Affairs report found grocery store prices had increased 8.2% over the preceding 12 months, the highest rate in the nation and a full 1.2% more than the next-closest states. The state is sitting on a pretty hefty reserve right now. In our opinion, spending some of those rainy day reserves would provide a bit of sunshine for agencies trying to keep their heads above rising financial floodwaters right now.


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