Supply chain woes, food prices force Meals on Wheels of Wake County to get creative

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A local community is coming together to feed the needy.

It's a busy time for Meals on Wheels of Wake County, delivering 1,400 meals a day for families facing financial hardship.

But it's not coming without challenges.

"This past year has been difficult in that we are seeing price increases for our food. We're seeing some scarcity and some of the items that we normally get. And so we have had to be creative in some senses," said Alan Winstead of Meals on Wheels.

Winstead said that the need has increased since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and that more people are calling to inquire about the program.

"And so right now, we're able to meet that need, I mean, but it's something that we have to keep an eye on to make certain that that we're able to continue to have a balanced budget and meet the need," Winstead said.

He said Meals on Wheels is having to judge how many meals it can make. Because of inflation, the agency is making about the same number of meals at an increased cost.

"What we're not able to do is increase the number of meals that we make, and so there could potentially be a gap between the number of meals that we need to meet the need in the community and what we're able to provide," Winstead said. "We're working with big food suppliers, but if it's unavailable to them, they are unable to deliver it to us."

He said they've been creative in making substitutions and even last-minute changes to the menu.

"So, if we're having a chicken at lunch and we don't have the chicken, you know, but we can get our shrimp, we'll serve that, or our crab cakes," he explained. "And so then later on when the chicken becomes available, we will serve that."

You can click here to find out how to volunteer or make a donation to support Meals on Wheels' efforts.
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