A new report from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank found that prices in Rhode Island rose an average of 15 percent in the last two years. That increase has pushed many people to food pantries.
"For low-income families, that increased cost leads them to not be able to afford the food they need."
Food Bank Executive Director Andrew Schiff said middle and upper income residents are often better able to absorb rising food prices.
"But for low-income families, that increased cost leads them to not be able to afford the food they need," Schiff said. "For SNAP benefit households they are not able to get through the entire month."
The food bank report found about 53 thousand people accessed their food pantries each month in the last year. Up more than ten-thousand from a decade ago. The nonprofit says benefits like SNAP, or food stamps, are no longer adequate, and more and more people are turning to food pantries for help.
"For SNAP benefit households they are not able to get through the entire month."
Rhode Island Community Food Bank director Andrew Schiff said there needs to be greater public pressure to address the issue.
Schiff explained, "We find that when people volunteer at food pantries or meal programs, when they work directly with the people who are needing assistance, and they see it in a different light. And they want a much bigger role played by government."
At the state level, the Food Bank is among the advocacy organizations pushing for a fifteen dollar minimum wage.