Updated 07/19/2012 03:17 PM
Drought across U.S. affecting NC charities, driving up food prices
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CHARLOTTE — The continued drought in the Midwest could affect North Carolina charities especially hard.
Agriculture officials estimated that the dry heat could wipe out hundreds of corn crops, pushing prices to record highsSome area nonprofits are concerned the price increase could have a devastating impact on needy families in North Carolina.
Every Thursday, Anson Crisis Ministry Director Ann James drives almost an hour to Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte to pick up food for the nearly 1,000 seniors who rely on Anson Crisis Ministry every month. At 16 cents a pound, her money goes a long way. Yet soon, she might be forced to dig a lot deeper.
The continued drought in the Midwest is crippling farmers and driving prices at the register up at a time when many can least afford it. Instead of spending the majority of her $30,000 a year food budget at Second Harvest Food Bank, James may be forced to buy from pricier retailers.
"Sooner or later it's going to affect the Crisis Ministry as far as how much corn we can give out how much vegetables we can give out," said James.
Kathy Helms purchases food for Second Harvest with the $500,000 a year the agency gets in state grants. Purchasing items like cereal, canned fruits and vegetables that go in their Back Pack and Senior programs.
Helms also buys food for the nonprofit's 600 partner agencies like Crisis Ministry. She fears that the money will not go as far if prices go up.
"We're going to feel something whether it's in our ability to purchase as much as before or our donations," said Helms.
Agriculture officials said that residents in North Carolina could see higher prices for products such as beef, pork, poultry and milk within the next two months. Prices for packaged or processed foods like cereal and flour could take much longer.