In some states, federal food assistance implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic is coming to an end. At Sister Visitor Center in Louisville, however, demand for food assistance has reached an all-time high. A ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sister Visitor Center is doing all it can to keep up with the surge of those needing help. Louisville news media stopped by SVC this week to shed light on the issue. The news segment can be viewed below.
Mary Whitten, a pantry customer, expressed her gratitude for the help she receives as inflation has stretched her already limited finances.
“I’m struggling one dime to another dime,” Whitten told WLKY News while visiting Sister Visitor Center’s food pantry on Monday. “They help me a lot,” she said of the pantry.
The Sister Visitor Center’s food pantry experienced a significant surge in demand in 2021, from 500 visits per month to 1,400. As of January, that number had grown to 2,000 visits per month.
Laura Williams, the pantry manager, told WLKY that some customers were returning on a weekly basis to supplement their monthly shop. While inflation at the grocery store is one reason for increased demand, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy cites the withdrawal of supplemental food assistance by Kentucky’s Republican state lawmakers as another contributing factor. This has resulted in an increase in people needing emergency assistance, such as food banks or food pantries.
The U.S. Senate is presently debating the extension of some extra SNAP benefits as part of the five-year Farm Bill, the report states. Until then, Sister Visitor Center and other food pantries are bracing for demand.