SACRAMENTO, California (KCRA) -- The impact of inflation runs deep, affecting more than just food prices. In Sacramento, more people are turning to food banks as grocery costs keep rising.

Food prices increased by half a percent in December. Overall, food prices are up by over 6% from a year ago. In fall 2021, key items like meat, fats and cooking oil used for cooking rose up from 10 to 20 percent compared to the same time in 2020.

River City Food Bank provided groceries to nearly 500 individuals on Thursday alone.

Weston Griffith, a Sacramento resident says this is his first time visiting a food bank.

"There's a lot of income demographics and especially in the situation we're in — a lot of instability — so I'm glad that I can get something in my system and I'm glad that the community can, too," Griffith said.

Blake Young, president of the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services said most people don't know that larger regional food banks purchase food to meet demand. This means on top of trying to help feed people, they're also having to pay more to do so.

Food banks across the Sacramento area have seen increased demand, particularly among certain groups.

"In December, we saw a huge increase of eastern European and Afghanistan families, with a total of 267 family members," said Mary Jachino with the Elk Grove Food Bank.

Erika Fatula, director of fund development at the River City Food Bank, added that 85% of the people they serve are refugees. Fatula adds that they're also adding more culturally appropriate food such as halal meats, pistachios, and other items.

River City is also trying to help people long-term by providing CalFresh outreach and application assistance. Some of the staff can also speak Spanish and Farsi to help families receive information on how to apply.

But with increased demand for food and assistance comes an increased need for helping hands.

In 2019, River City was serving about 12,000 people a month. During the pandemic, they've helped up to 20,000 a month at its busiest peak. Currently, they estimate about 17,000 people a month are relying on their food bank.

The Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services also has a refugee settlement program, which includes helping families since their arrival to the U.S. They help connect families to resources such as CalFresh, enrolling in English as a second language classes, job placement and training programs.

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