Food pantries face supply chain woes amid increased needs this Thanksgiving

Foods banks around Massachusetts are gearing up for Thanksgiving, which is now just a week away.

“We are ready for the Thanksgiving holiday as best as we can be,” said Catherine Lynn, Senior Director of Communications for the Greater Boston Food Bank.

The concern is COVID. The pandemic is impacting food banks in Boston, Worcester and the Merrimack Valley. All report a massive increase in need since the pandemic started.

“People are finding themselves for the first time ever in a position where they’re asking for help with food,” said Amy Pessia, who is the Executive Director for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

At the Greater Boston Food Bank, 1 in 10 people are now food insecure. That translates into 600,000 meals a month. It was 300,000, just half that, pre-pandemic.

And now it’s more of a challenge to get food due to supply chain issues holding up orders.

“Items have been delayed or canceled,” Pessia said.

And that’s led to higher prices.

“Turkeys are up about 10%, is up 17% And sweet potatoes are up almost 28%,” Lynn said.

Food donations will still be accepted in the Merrimack Valley up until Monday or Tuesday of next week. Greater Boston says cash donations will ensure turkey and all the trimmings gets to those in need.

“Any dollar is going to help us make sure those items are available,” Lynn said.