AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As a product of inflation, the American Farm Bureau Federation estimates Texans may pay 16% more for their Thanksgiving dinner this year than in 2021. 

On Tuesday, Central Texas Food Bank President hosted its annual food drive ahead of Thanksgiving. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn joined CEO Sari Vatske to discuss the effects of inflation on food prices and increased needs this year.

About 400,000 people rely on the Central Texas Food Bank for food assistance, and inflation has brought needs higher and closer to pandemic levels this year. The drive distributed 18,000 pounds of food to 250 households. 

“The food banks around our state provide essential services to people who are food insecure,” Cornyn said. 

Supply chain issues are one of the factors impacting the price and accessibility of food. 

“COVID has opened our eyes to a lot of the vulnerabilities that we have in terms of getting not only food on the shelf, but also to food banks, and the critical technology we need to grow our economy and defend our nation,” the Republican senator said. 

Central Texas Food Bank acknowledges food insecurity is not an issue it can respond to on its own. It suggests government, retail and agriculture partners are needed. 

“One of the things that Central Texas Food Bank is working on is not only trying to provide more immediate access to nutritious food but really looking at insulating ourselves from market fluctuations and starting to address root causes of hunger,” Vatske said. “It takes government, it takes agriculture, it takes retail partners, and so the food bank is well positioned to convene those folks to address solutions.”

Cornyn said Congress is doing what it can to ease the rising costs Americans are feeling. 

“We’ve done a number of things on the supply chain issue. We’ll be working on things like the annual farm bill here pretty soon to try to continue our support for these nutrition programs like the one here in Central Texas,” said Cornyn.  

The holiday season puts a lot of emphasis on food insecurity, but there are many Texans who experience food insecurity year-round. 

“We need to make sure that we’re serving them year-round and that families don’t go without,” Vatske said. 

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