Operation Breakthrough sees uptick in demand for services due to inflation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Inflation is impacting everyone, but people living on the financial edge are getting help from charitable organizations like Operation Breakthrough.

Inside the organization’s food pantry, donation specialist Michell Jones said she is seeing more families needing help.

“Before the food and gas price went up, I would see our families once [or] twice a month,” Jones said. “Now, I’m seeing them like six, seven, nine times within the month.”

Meats and milk are some of the popular items families take from the pantry.

Jones, who is a single mother, is personally feeling the impact of inflation.

“When I buy my family pack, I usually was paying like $4.99. It’s $11.99 and up for a roll of toilet paper. Milk is $4.99,” she said. “I have a van and I usually took $40 and I could fill up. Now I’m taking anywhere from $70 to $80 dollars just to fill up.”

Jones said a financial crisis in April forced her to rely on the same food she handed out.

Operation Breakthrough is handing out more than food.

Mary Esselman, the president and CEO of Operation Breakthrough, said an economic and empowerment coach was hired earlier this year to help families manage their finances.

“It’s a coach that really sits down with families and works through their budget,” Esselman said. “With prices of different things going up, and families are trying to figure out how do I balance what I have and make sure I’m paying for what we need, she sits down with them and helps them look at their budget, figure out what they can do differently to try and make sure they can make ends meet each month.”

Despite a tough economic period, Esselman said people continue to donate.

“That offsets what we might otherwise have to spend or allows us to really pinpoint where our dollars are going to best serve families,” she said.

Beyond food and finacial advice, Esselman added the organization has given out gas cards to help people fuel their cars as gas prices reach nearly $5.


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