BRAFB: 1-in-3 people who rely on the food bank are fully employed

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 2:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank says more people are relying on food pantries as the cost of living increases.

“The reality is, cost of living is just too high to make ends meet,” BRAFB CEO Michael McKee said.

BRAFB says roughly one-in-three people who use its services are fully employed.

“In a place like Charlottesville, where the cost of living is so high, the cost of housing is so high, we’re probably seeing even greater numbers of people who are employed but still turning to local food pantries to put food on their table,” McKee said.

McKee says this can be especially hard for single parents taking home one pay check.

“You’re looking at rents around at least $1,200 or more per month. And if your take home is $2,500, that’s about half of your paycheck going straight into rent. There just isn’t enough money for these people to get by and cover all of their expenses,” McKee said.

Every month, families are forced to make a choice: ”Buying groceries or buying medicine. Paying for their kids’ clothes or paying for the groceries at the store every month. It’s that kind of agonizing trade off. And there is no place to go for free utilities or free gasoline, so we’re fortunate to be able to provide those, these families a little bit of extra help,” McKee said.

The food bank reminds everyone that they don’t need to have met any qualifications to use its resources.

“There really needs to be no stigma whatsoever. People who find themselves struggling should feel no shame, no embarrassment, and coming to a food pantry,” McKee said.

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