WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Reserve Bank is meeting next week and may raise interest rates in an attempt to control inflation.

High prices of groceries, gasoline and other goods are making things difficult for people around the country and are causing West Virginians to re-think what they buy.

Pamela Garrison is retired and lives in Fayette County. She is married and has two daughters.

“I’ve seen my daughter, and she’s already got heart problems and stuff. I’m already stressed and stressed and trying to figure out how she’s going to pay to keep the lights on, get groceries, get school clothes on her kid’s back,” said Garrison.

Stress and worry are not the only things that are impacting the Garrison family. Pam said she is making sacrifices since food affordability has become a real issue.

“It affects everything about life for you. When your car breaks down, you don’t have the money to get ya car fixed cause you have to buy groceries,” said Garrison.

Garrison said that she has to buy what’s cheapest, not what she wants, because food has become too expensive. She is also a member of the Poor People’s Campaign, which is a national program aimed at issues affecting low-income people, including poverty, militarism and ecological devastation.

Garrison has advice for those who are feeling the pinch of inflation.

“Try to reach out to these organizations and churches, it’s pathetic that we got to, you know, beg to try and get some food on the table or try and keep the lights on,” said Garrison.

One such organization is the state-wide Mountaineer Food Bank. Director of Advocacy and Public Policy Caitlin Cook said the organization has different programs that try to reach as many people as they can.

“In the 48 counties that Mountaineer Food Bank serves, ya know we have a variety of programs that serve veterans, that serve seniors specifically, that serve kids specifically,” said Cook.

Inflation has impacted every aspect of getting food to people from the food bank. It makes gas more expensive, which makes driving meals to people more expensive. The cost of food is up too, which impacts the programs that they run.

With things costing more and many families feeling the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the President passed legislation last month. This bi-partisan effort created “The Keep Kids Fed” act, which extends funding of school meal plans until Sept. 30, 2022.

“This piece of legislation essentially gives authority to USDA to allow waivers for certain summer feeding programs that were essentially initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cook.

For more information on federally funded and Mountaineer Food Bank programs, visit the Mountaineer Food Bank website.