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Summer Stock Up: Local pantries seeing influx in first-time clients due to record high inflation

Families who haven't needed assistance before are now going to local food pantries due to rising costs.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's Day 2 of our Summer Stock Up Drive-Thru Dash. We're asking you to partner with us to re-stock local pantries. We're working with the United Way who makes sure all donations stay here in our community.

One of the pantries who will receive summer stock up donations is North End Community Ministry. Housed in the basement of New City Church on Spencer Street, this client-choice emergency pantry serves people living on the city's northeast side.

Executive Director Laura Castle says they have seen a marked increase in people visiting the pantry for the first time in the last three weeks. She attributes the increased need to record-high inflation, the spike in grocery costs and gas prices.

"It's quite a struggle for the people that we are serving, and our hope is that for those where there is more month left at the end of the money, that we are able to alleviate some of the duress that they are having to face with trying to keep up with their regular bills, let alone the food that they are having to purchase," Castle said. "So that is the goal of our ministry is to try and encourage people and alleviate the financial stress that they are under."

One of those people is Jasmine M., who tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE that she hasn't needed help before, but when her rent went up along the higher cost of just about everything, she couldn't make ends meet anymore. She says bringing these groceries home to her kids means the world.

"This is helping a lot of families that are just getting by slightly," she said. "I don't think they know how much they are helping families, honestly. I am fixing to go home and be like look what I got and it's like treasure to (my kids)."

North End Community Ministry is open Tuesday through Thursday mornings beginning at 9 a.m. It's an emergency pantry meaning someone in need can come get three to four days' worth of groceries once a month or more depending on the circumstances.

NECM has some really unique offerings as well: A pantry specifically for those with diabetes and a monthly senior supper event.

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