MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The financial pain of inflation continues both locally and nationwide, as new data showed year to year price increases growing at their fastest rate since 1981, at 8.6%.
The 12-month increases are even higher for things such as food, energy and new vehicles. That's why those in the Mid-South are offering advice and providing solutions for families increasingly crunched by surging costs.
LJ Abraham is doing her part to help, stocking shelves with free food her fellow Memphians.
"The way people are struggling just to purchase food in general, it's important we keep these stocked and provide this resource to the community," Abraham said.
Early last year, Abraham launched '901 Community Fridges' at three sites, including First Congregational Church in Cooper-Young.
"Every time that I pull up to put food in the refrigerators, there have been people actively waiting for food if there wasn't food already in there," Abraham said.
The challenge to afford food is intensifying. Data out Friday showed the highest jump in overall prices - including food - year over year since 1981.
"People who make an average income of ($40,000) are struggling to make ends meet because everything is constantly going up," Abraham said.
"What's driving this is energy - crude oil in particular - and grain," University of Memphis Economics Professor David Kemme said.
Kemme said those factors are making groceries more expensive and forcing shoppers to change their habits.
"It means you have to shop very carefully and spend more time looking for sales, clipping coupons, taking advantage of things where prices have fallen," Kemme added.
As for surging gas prices, Kemme said oil producing countries that agreed to increase their daily production will help, but said drivers likely won't be seeing relief at the pump until closer to fall.
"Buy a more fuel efficient car or electric of something, or drive less, carpool. Each household can figure out how to consume less energy," Kemme said.
With inflation showing no signs of letting up in the near future, Abraham is asking those who can to pitch in and help lessen food insecurity.
"We get a lot of outreach of people needing food right now and it's anyone from professionals to single mothers to, there's really no limit to who needs the food," Abraham said.
To find out more information about '901 Community Fridges', go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/901communityfridges.