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Number of families seeking help from Catholic Charities dramatically increases

“Last year at this pantry we had we served about 252 families. Right now... if we look at the same time frame, we’re serving 728 families,” said Elma Ortiz.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Whether it’s gas or groceries, inflation is taking its toll on so many facets of our lives.

The Coastal Bend Food Bank shared with 3News just how much of a demand for assistance they’re seeing... and they’re not the only ones.

Catholic Charities has been serving the Coastal Bend for decades and right now, their food pantries are under pressure to meet a higher demand for help.

“Last year at this pantry we had served about 252 families. Right now, where if we look at the same time frame, we’re serving 728 families,” said Elma Ortiz Director of Crisis Assistance and Self Sufficiency.

Ortiz said like with most everything, inflation is driving that demand they’re working to meet.

RELATED: Resources available for Coastal Bend residents seeking savings

“That’s what everybody is complaining about, the price of groceries, not enough snap assistance, gas prices going up, so we’ve had a big increase in the food pantry,” said Ortiz.

The nonprofit is working to keep the shelves at all six of their pantries stocked.

“They were full all the way up to the top. We had them full at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. After 3, we got so busy and this is the way it is this morning,” said Ortiz.

Catholic Charities gets a lot of their food from the Coastal Bend Food Bank.

“If I’m in dire need, they come through and they’ve always been able to help us,” said Ortiz.

Some items are becoming more difficult to come by.

“We’re finding a shortage of meat products from the Food Bank, so we are going out and shopping at HEB when we can to bring in the meat products,” said Ortiz.

They also rely on donations, which aren’t coming in fast enough.

“The Lent drive helped a lot. The only thing is it probably only lasted about two weeks and we’re back to ordering again,” said Ortiz.

As the non-profit works to get food for their shelves, they’re also in need of more volunteers.

“By the time we get three, four customers in here shopping- we’ve got to restock all over again,” said Ortiz.

Without that help they must limit the in-person shopping and resort to handing out prepackaged bags.

“We prepare the bags the evening before. So we come in, we give bags, unless it’s been a crazy evening where we’ve been working to 5:30 in the afternoon,” said Ortiz.

Despite the challenges they’re continuing with their mission to serve our community.

“Right now, the children are outside of school so we’re trying to make sure that these families are packed with what they might need for the children at home,” said Ortiz.

Not only are they keeping the food stocked, but also helping families find baby formula.

“We see these young families coming in and sometimes they’re crying,” said Ortiz.

The nonprofit recently received a large donation of Similac formula, so if you need that kind give them a call.

Even if they don’t have what you’re needing they try their best to help.

RELATED: US importing baby formula from Mexico to ease shortage

“Last week we had a young lady who needed a formula we just couldn’t carry here. We called around and were able to find her some through another organization,” said Ortiz.

If you would like to pick up baby formula be sure to bring your child’s birth certificate.

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