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Feeding Medina County: weathering the storm of inflation and reduced SNAP benefits to meet increased demand

Food banks are working to gather support and help the community
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Posted at 4:42 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 19:10:40-05

MEDINA, Ohio — One out of every 10 in Medina County is struggling to put food on the table, and Feeding Medina County, the county’s biggest food pantry, is working overtime to lessen that struggle.

Feeding Medina County serves 3,800 people a month. It offers 5 programs: the onsite emergency food pantry, weekend food bags for children, a senior meal program, community-wide food distributions four times a month and free transportation for pick up and deliveries to other food pantries around the county.

Katy Fuerst is the executive director of the organization. She said from 2019 until now, they’re serving 506% more people in the area. She anticipates the need will only grow in the weeks and months that follow.

“I think a lot of it has to do with things like inflation. Prices of goods are going up. The price of food has been climbing steadily for the past year. We’ve seen natural gas prices go up, fuel go up, just everything is more expensive,” she said.

Higher prices of food mean less food coming in the form of donations and higher costs the organization takes on when purchasing it.

But she’s even more concerned about the impact that the end of pandemic emergency SNAP benefits will have. Those benefits expired on Feb. 28.

“We’ve heard from a lot of clients. We’ve seen a lot of tears,” said Fuerst. “I heard from a senior the other day who said I’ve been getting $400 every other month for food assistance and that’s now going down to $24. It’s a huge difference and it’s making a lot of these families going through hard times already, now going through even tougher times.”

Donna Mittler is a volunteer with Feeding Medina County. She, too, has seen an increased need at the food pantries she delivers to every Friday.

“There’s more and more people in need. When you talk to the individual pantries, their numbers are just skyrocketing,” she said. “It can happen to anyone.”

That’s why donations are important now more than ever before.

“Support is, of course, critical for food pantries and food banks,” said Fuerst.

The organization’s annual fundraiser is Saturday, March 11. It’s a Spring Forward Gala and Fuerst is thrilled that it has already sold out.

She’s hoping to raise at least $200,000. Last year it raised nearly $250,000.

“We just want to make sure that people’s basic needs are met,” she said.

She added that any donation, whether it be time volunteering, money or food, will go a long way in making sure Feeding Medina County accomplishes its goal.

If you’d like to help or if you’re in need of assistance,just click here.

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