(ABC4) – Prices for just about every consumer product out there seem to be going up. Groceries are no exception to the hike and may be the most difficult for some families to stomach.

An article by CNN Business earlier this week cites data from Chicago-based market research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI) showing that the cost of meat, seafood, produce, cereal, and other goodies all surged 9% in the last year.

As the pandemic, along with supply chain and labor shortages, continue to linger, the effects many will feel on their wallets after a trip to the store may continue to grow.

The workers at the Utah Food Bank have already seen more and more local families take advantage of its services. Even before the latest surge in grocery prices, fitting the funds for food into a budget was difficult enough for Utah family, the Food Bank’s President, Ginette Bott, explains.

“They look at their budgets, and there’s always a list of things that seem to be attended to before food,” she tells ABC4.com, mentioning other expenses such as mortgages, housing, transportation, childcare, and health concerns. “Food just keeps falling down that list on the budget, so we’ve always been in a position to see families being challenged by that budgetary issue. But now it’s even more so because the prices of the grocery store are going up so quickly and, on some items, so incredibly high.”

The increasing need by Utah families to grab a bag of groceries from the Food Bank is easily apparent, according to Bott. Typically, when the Bank hosts a mobile drive-thru pantry, workers serve about 375 to 400 families. During the most recent distribution on Monday in Taylorsville, the Food Bank assisted around 600.

It’s possible, Bott says, that many of the people now needing a hand from the Food Bank are folks you may not expect to see receiving food assistance. However, like judging a book by its cover, it’s not possible to know exactly what a person may be experiencing financially when they arrive at a mobile pantry.

“We can’t look at someone and tell that they’re hungry,” Bott says. “When you look at someone and think, ‘Oh, my goodness, they’re driving a very expensive car. Why are they coming for food?’ Well, the fact of the matter is, we don’t know the whole story. Maybe they borrowed that car, maybe that car is ready to be repossessed, we don’t understand those kinds of things. But a family who has always had financial stability, even they’re starting to feel the pinch. Now when it comes to food and certain products.”

The Utah Food Bank makes it a point never to turn anyone away. Even if the demand is extremely high, workers will find at least something for everyone, according to Bott. However, donations in the form of food, volunteer time, and money are always needed and accepted. It’ll be especially important now as the Bank’s surplus from the holiday season will soon run out or expire.

Being aware of the fact that many may be struggling to put food on the table nowadays can be greatly appreciated, Bott adds.

“The items that your family enjoys at your home are exactly the items another family would like as well. When you shop, shop for another family too,” Bott suggests. “You can take it to a local pantry, you can bring it to the food bank, most grocery stores have a bin by the front door, you can leave the product there and it gets to us.”

Some of the most needed food items at the Food Bank are meat, which is in both high demand and short supply as of late, and kid-friendly food that is easy for a youngster or teenager to prepare by themselves.

It’s going to take a team effort to help Utah families through a difficult period at the grocery stores, but Bott is optimistic that the community is up to the task.

“We recognize that fighting hunger is not solely going to be accomplished by any one entity and we so appreciate everyone who collaborates and who participates and who really is joining us now in the fight against hunger.”