By Travis Le Duc
Each and every one of us is experiencing it–sticker shock at the gas pump, the drive thru, and most notably, the grocery store. It more aptly should be called double-shock. According to the United States Department of Agriculture for 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drove the largest annual decrease of disposable income expenditures spent on food, while in 2022 we are experiencing an over 8% increase. This annual increase represents the largest year over year change since 1981. The reality is that the cost for food will continue to rise beyond the end of the year, along with an expected increase in demand for Greater Vail Community ReSources services.
These increases are not expected to ease, due to the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the outsized influence that Russia has as the world’s top exporter of fertilizers. In 2020, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Russia exported nearly $8 billion worth of fertilizing compounds. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has helped to exacerbate the increases in food cost that were already being driven by rising energy costs, supply chain issues and labor shortages. These factors will result in increased cost for farmers and higher consumer prices at the grocery store. Food insecurity throughout the nation will rise alongside food prices, placing greater demand on food banks and community pantries. ReSources Vail Food Bank has seen an increase of over 30% in client visits so far in 2022, compared to 2021, but our food bank stands ready to accept new clients and encourages all who are hit hard by food costs to visit us “between the tracks.”
While there is a significant amount of food security headwinds, the greater Vail community continues to deliver for our residents in the greatest need, through outstanding support from the ReSources cadre of volunteers and donations from the community. Thankfully, we are experiencing record sales at the Vail Depot Thrift Store which is helping to fund our ReSources Vail Food Bank programs. The truth is that ReSources’ current successes and attainment of future goals would not be possible without the overwhelming support of our community. Thank you all for patronizing the Depot Thrift Store and for your financial contributions to ReSources. To find out more about ReSources and how you can receive help through the food bank, visit: www.resourcesvail.org
Travis J. Le Duc is a lifelong resident of Vail and a ReSources Board Member. Mr. Le Duc currently is the Director of Support Services for the Tohono O’odham Nursing Care Authority and volunteers on local and statewide boards. Mr. Le Duc started his professional career as a soldier in the Medical and Aviation Corps of the U.S. Army, serving almost ten years. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2008 with a B.S. in Commerce and in 2016 with a Master of Business Administration. Travis and his wife Jessica live in Rancho Del Lago with their two youngest of four children.