AUSTIN (KXAN) — Supply chain problems and inflation are even taking a toll on Meals on Wheels of Central Texas.
This Thanksgiving, the nonprofit’s volunteers delivered free hot meals to more than 500 seniors.
“Today, interestingly enough, we’re unable to get turkey because of supply issues.” Meals On Wheels Central Texas President and CEO Henry Van de Putte said.
Rising food prices are gobbling up more money and putting a strain on budgets.
“Overall, our cost increases are about 10% right now,” Van de Putte said. “They just keep climbing.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his family joined Meals on Wheels of Central Texas Thursday to deliver Thanksgiving meals.
“For all Texans and all Americans, there’s been a dramatic rise in the cost of food,” Governor Abbott said.
Central Texas Food Bank President and CEO Sari Vatske says its need is higher than in the height of the pandemic.
“We are seeing pandemic levels of need right now with inflation and cost of living,” she said. “While we’re ensuring that families have a happy holiday, we need to make sure that we’re serving them year-round.”
“When it comes to volunteers, we’re really great on Thanksgiving,” Van de Putte said. “It’s all the other days that are really important for us to get more volunteers.”
Across town at Rodeo Austin, volunteers with Operation Turkey spent Wednesday smoking and prepping 600 turkeys for those experiencing homelessness.
“We’ll be serving those meals to people on the street, to people in low-income housing and directly to their homes,” Operation Turkey board member Kevin Grogan said.
Nevertheless, with costs climbing and donations down, most of these nonprofits need even more volunteers.
“We need all the help we can get this holiday season, to make sure that our mission continues to grow further,” Van de Putte said.
Over the past year, the Central Texas Food Bank told KXAN that they provided nearly 46 million meals.
According to the Food Bank, nearly 437,000 people in its 21-county service area were food insecure during the 2022 fiscal year which ended Sep. 30.
The Food Bank says that means 14% of Central Texans and 17.2% of children in our area are at risk of hunger.
The service territory for Central Texas Food Bank is about twice the size of the state of Massachusetts.