‘Our fridges are empty:’ Nationwide shortages affecting Tri-Cities resource centers

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Inflation coupled with nationwide supply chain issues and mass shortages is a nasty equation for resource centers in Tri-Cities that provide essential goods to people in need.

At the Family Resource Center of the Tri-Cities, normally the shelves and fridges in the food bank are stocked full of fresh produce, meat, and dairy.

Now, executive director Yadira Galvan said they’re empty and instead filled with empty space.

“When it comes to meat and milk and that kind of stuff, that’s where we’re seeing a shortage,” Galvan said. “Prices are going up. What we were paying 99 cents for eggs, now it’s almost two dollars.”

Another problem the center is facing is the gas prices that are hitting record highs across the country.

“Gas is going up. It takes three vehicles for us to drive all the way to King City weekly to pick up food. It’s expensive and we don’t get grants for that kind of stuff,” Galvan said. “We might have to cut back on how many times we pick up food from Second Harvest. Right now it’s once a week. We might have to cut back to two times a month.”

That’s a serious concern for Galvan as the center feeds thousands of Washington residents who rely on their services.

Galvan noted that the center is seeing a “less amount of people” and she wonders if that can be attributed in part to the cost of fuel.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Galvan said.

iMPACT! Compassion Center, another Tri-Cities resource, turned to social media for help as they too are facing empty shelves.

“Our outreach supply cupboards are bare! People are coming in for help with basic needs supplies, and we have to turn them away,” read one Facebook post.

Executive director Jennifer Felicitas sent KAPP-KVEW this statement:

“Keeping up with the supply and demand of all of the basic needs supplies we give away is an on-going challenge. The cost of the supplies often make it difficult for low income individuals to purchase them, but, even with donations, we may have small donations of, for example, one small box of tampons, or a few bottles of multi purpose cleaner at a time, as the items can add up when you buy more than a few at a time, and as soon as we get donations, we give them all out, often within 24 hours. People are also, fairly busy with their lives and going out of their way to purchase supplies, amidst lifes busy schedule, add on the cost of gas to travel to pick up and drop off donations, to the barriers to giving. One thing that truly helps us is when businesses, churches, groups, schools, etc, host supply drives. We love to partner with our community! Honestly, everyone, just helping a little, goes a long way, and is truly appreciated.”

Officials said that right now is a crucial time for donations and they welcome any and all support that they can get.

For more information on how to donate to the Family Resource Center of Tri-Cities, click here. Galvan said they are especially looking for gas cards and fresh food.

For more information on how to donate to the iMPACT! Compassion Center, click here.

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