Food banks, pantries are seeing higher need as prices rise

On a Thursday morning, a long line of cars, stretching down Vernor Highway and West Grand Boulevard, headed for a drive-thru in Southwest Detroit, where people picked up the basics — milk, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. 

Among them, Bianca Martinez, a 35-year-old mom of three, who came to the event, put together by Southwest Solutions and Gleaners Community Food Bank, for the second time since last fall. 

Items at the grocery store are pricey, she said. So, too, is gasoline. Martinez — who left her temporary warehouse job for maternity leave earlier this year and has since been unemployed and looking for new work — feels she has to be strategic about where she drives and how often. There’s also the baby formula shortage she has to think about. 

“A lot of people out here are struggling, they’re living check-to-check,” said Martinez, of Ecorse. 

Ann Sakurada of West Bloomfield puts gallons of milk inside a vehicle in the parking lot of Southwest Solutions during their bi-weekly food drive at this location on West Vernor in Detroit on April 14, 2022. Food drives and pantries like the weekly ones Southwest Solutions does at two locations in Detroit have seen an increase in the number of people in need of food due to inflation and the cost of rent going up.

The extra boost Thursday is a “blessing” so much so that she wants to come back and help out. Times are tough now but with Easter right around the corner, it’s important to be able “to provide something for your family,” she said. 

More:Food, grocery costs hit another 40-year high as prices spike 10%

More:Report: Food insecurity linked to high health care costs in Michigan

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