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The Squeeze: Supply Chain Problems Have Charitable Organizations Feeling Pain Ahead Of Holiday Season

By Aundrea Cline-Thomas for CBS New York, Published November 17, 2021

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Charitable organizations need help now more than ever.

The rising cost of items due to the supply chain delays are really putting a squeeze on how much good they can do in the community, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.

There were regular pantry offerings on one side and the Thanksgiving distribution on the other. Hundreds of families are relying on groceries to help make ends meet.

“We see many of the food items that we usually purchase in short supply. When we can purchase them, more expensive,” said Stephen Grimaldi, executive director of New York Common Pantry.

Lower inventory, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions have made it hard to buy nutritious food for its clients. All this as food donations have been cut in half.

“Now, we’re finding because we can’t get food locally that we have to go further and further away. The further you go away, the more supply chain issues you confront,” Grimaldi said.

Andre Thompson is in charge of purchasing the groceries.

“We are basically competing with everyone else as a pantry — supermarkets, the household consumers,” Thompson said.

“If we weren’t a few steps ahead in planning our Thanksgiving procurement, we wouldn’t have it available to provide today,” Thompson said.

For so many nonprofits, the holidays are prime time for fundraising. But delays with the supply chain are impacting that effort, too.

“Simple things like not enough glue or paper. You say what’s the big deal about that? Well, our major fundraising is through the mail,” said Maj. Kevin Stoops of the Salvation Army.

Millions of dollars could be put on hold. With more requests for help, concerns are mounting about the impact on major programs, like the Angel Tree Toy Drive.

“I have had sleepless nights,” Stoops said. “Can you support the Salvation Army maybe a little earlier in your thinking, just because it’s crucial this year.”

Charitable organizations are trying to do even more with a lot less this year, hoping to continue being a lifeline to those who need it most.