WACO, Texas — Food banks and social service organizations are preparing for an increase in demand for help this holiday season, but supply chain shortages and inflation may prove to create challenges for them.
On Monday afternoon, several shelves in Caritas of Waco's warehouse were completely empty, which is not a usual sight for the food pantry.
"Even during COVID in 2020, with everything that happened, we didn't see the supply chain hit like it's being hit right now," said Caritas co-executive director Alicia Jallah.
Shortages and inflation are making it hard not just for Caritas but also for its clients. More and more are seeking extra help putting food on the table.
"A lot of people are needing to come to us twice a month for groceries because they're seeing the prices, the inflation prices, hitting them in their grocery bills so they come here more often," Jallah said.
With the holidays coming up, Caritas expects the demand for assistance to grow even larger in the coming weeks. It currently serves around 115 families per day but is expecting to serve closer to 200 or 250 families per day by the end of the year.
Caritas isn't alone in expecting that increase. The Salvation Army of Waco said they see increased demand for assistance every holiday season.
"They wonder 'How am I gonna be able to make all of this happen? I've got a Thanksgiving meal for my family coming up, I have Christmas coming up, I have all my regular bills and everything going on,'" said Maj, Jim Taylor, commanding officer for the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army operates its community kitchen and thrift store, as well as its Toys For Tots program throughout the holidays.
Both organizations said that the supply and demand hurdles have been manageable so far, but it's unclear if that will last.
"We're kind of crossing our fingers. We're interested to see what the next couple of months are gonna look like."
One of the best ways to help organizations like Caritas and the Salvation Army is through donations, whether that be financial or physical donations.