PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In times, good and bad, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has been on the scene to help those with food insecurities. Hardship is hitting many corners of the community as some of the charity’s shelves are bare.

“Right now, our donations of food have been down about 30 percent for a significant period of time,” said Virginia Peninsula Foodbank CEO Karen Joyner.

(Photo courtesy: Foodbank Virginia Peninsula)

The pandemic is under control, but inflation is not.

The cost of food is up 40 percent and the cost of fuel is up 65 percent just as pandemic financial support is winding down.

The timing would not be worse. In a matter of days, hundreds of children with food insecurity will be home for the summer.

“One in six children who find free meals during the school year actually find the free meals during the summer,” said Joyner. “A lot of times the children don’t show up, maybe, because their parents don’t want them leaving their apartments or houses or trailers.”

Joyner hopes churches and community organizations will open their doors to children who could be fed by the Foodbank at various safe locations in the region.

The financial and operational deficits have created a perfect storm that could leave children and seniors in peril.

( Photo courtesy: Foodbank Virginia Peninsula)

“We’ve had a 20 percent increase in seniors. We never want our seniors to have to make a choice between paying for medicine and buying food,” said Joyner.

Joyner is also concerned about the looming reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance.

“We are worried that the emergency allotment of SNAP dollars will be discontinued eventually and that will throw these families into a severe crisis,” said Joyner.