Food banks spread thin over peanut butter prices
Hot weather hurt this year's peanut crops
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Hot weather has hurt this year’s peanut crops, causing a hike in peanut butter prices and making it more difficult for food banks to help the hungry with the popular staple.
Peanut butter is not only kid-friendly, but also one of the most popular items at food banks due to its high-protein value and long-shelf life.
Curt Balco, food coordinator for Tucson’s Interfaith Community Services Food Bank, said the peanut butter they have in stock won’t last.
“Certainly, we’ve had fewer donations of peanut butter than we have had in the past,” Balco said. “We haven’t had to purchase any yet because people have supplied us with peanut butter, but our supplies have dwindled greatly and we will be out of it before too long.”
Peanut butter prices have jumped 30 percent in some places. Many people like Martha Franco, who stopped by for a holiday food box, said skyrocketing prices make it tough to make ends meet.
“When my kids were little they used to eat a lot of peanut butter, but now [prices] have gone up a lot. I think if prices were to go down on peanut butter and other groceries, then people wouldn’t be having the hard times they do now,” Franco said.
Food banks are also having a tough time with the growing number of people who are down on their luck and need help.
“We have had a tremendous influx of people. The volume of people who are coming through here on some days doubles what it was a year ago,” Balco said.
Other food items such as breakfast cereal and meat products have also seen a hike in prices, which is the reason why Balco hopes people will donate more food items and more money.
“By donations coming to us we are able to stretch the dollar. We look for the sale items. We look for the best-value items where we can help the most people,” Balco said.