St. Pete mobile pantry offers free food during 40-year-high inflation

Reach St. Pete's Pop-up Mobile Pantry is helping families get the food they need.  

Amber Jachimski and her brother are on a fixed income that's only getting tighter as inflation increases. 

"With meat costing $10 for a two-pack of burgers, you get them for free. That makes a big difference when you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from," Jachimski said. 

She said the number of people in line for free groceries illustrates the impact of rising inflation. The latest figures put inflation at 9.1%, a 40-year-high.  

"The line gets longer every single week. When we first came, there’s only a handful of people, then a dozen people, then there was two dozen, now we got lines that wrap inside the building," she explained. 

Whether it's groceries, rent, gas or just about anything else, Reach St. Pete's Alexia Morrison says the higher costs are having an especially hard impact on folks who already have very little.  

The organization’s pop-up pantry launched in February, and it's already become an important safety-net for those struggling to keep up. 

"So just in a couple of months we've gone from serving 100 people to 300 people. It's just giving us a small glimpse into the need," Morrison said. 

Photo: Woman at Reach St. Pete's pop-up mobile pantry

Aiming to appear like a high-end grocery store inside, the pop-up pantry bus offers fresh produce, meats and other items free of charge. It makes rounds on the 2nd and 4th Thursday each month. 

"I think our last operation, about 40% of the people that we saw were brand new to asking for help for food or for coming out to the pop-up pantry. And that's huge," Morrison added. 

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