Nov 23, 2021 - News
Denver food banks struggle with rising prices and supply issues
Volunteers plate food during a Thanksgiving meal at the Denver Rescue Mission in 2018. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost about 14% more this year than in 2020 — and the price surge is straining local food banks working to feed families in need.

The big picture: Inflation, supply-chain challenges and soaring global demand for food, especially meat, have contributed to the rising costs, according to the American Farm Bureau.

Zoom in: A spokesperson for Food Bank of the Rockies tells Axios it is paying 54% more for vegetable oil, 30% more for canned fruit and that freight costs have increased by upwards of 25%.

  • The SouthWest Denver Coalition, which is handing out 200 turkeys this year, had to forgo buying the fixings because yams and canned corn were too pricey, Denverite reports.
  • Denver Rescue Mission says supply chain issues are also crippling the team's ability to replace broken kitchen equipment. The average wait time for appliances is now up to four months instead of four weeks, spokesperson Kevin Baker tells Axios.

Why it matters: A sharp spike in the need for food assistance throughout the pandemic is also stretching food bank resources thin, local service providers tell Axios.

  • The metro region’s homeless population increased by 40% over the last 22 months to about 6,000, Denver Rescue Mission estimates.

How to help: The three most impactful ways to help are by giving a financial gift, donating non-perishable food items or volunteering, organizers suggest.

  • The Denver Rescue Mission says it could also use donations of frozen turkeys that are 10 to 12 pounds.

⚽ Of note: The Colorado Rapids are hosting Major League Soccer's first-ever Thanksgiving playoff game on Thursday. Four Thanksgiving meals will be donated for every fan in attendance as part of a partnership with Food Bank of the Rockies and corporate partners.

  • The team's goal is to use the game to donate roughly 500,000 meals to families facing hunger across the state, Colorado Rapids executive vice president and general manager Pádraig Smith tells Axios.
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