This year, many Americans have felt the brunt of inflation as gas and food prices have ballooned. However, Black community leaders and activists are stepping up to meet those needs.
According to the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, inflation reached 8.5% in March, the highest since 1981. Today, millions of Black Americans are making difficult decisions, sacrificing food, medication, and other healthcare to afford rent and transportation.
Amid this financial crunch, many Black community leaders and activists are stepping in to help with food security and affordable housing to meet the needs of Black communities.
Elizabeth Omilami, the chief executive of Hosea Helps, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that distributes meals and provides rental and utility assistance, told NBC News she had seen a significant increase in the number of people who need their help, saying more than 600 cars lined up for the organization’s food distribution program on Easter.
“The rent has increased so much that people don’t have a place to live,” Omilami said. “And the rise in food prices has caused our numbers of people asking for emergency food to almost triple.”
Hosea Helps was started by Omilami’s father and civil rights activist Hosea Williams in 1971 when it served 100 meals a week to homeless people. Today, Hosea Helps offers food to more than 50,000 people per year and works with local farmers’ markets and Black community leaders to provide fresh produce to those who can’t afford it, healthy meals to schoolchildren, and partners with a hotel to help people without housing until they can find permanent housing.
Anthony Beckford, the Black Lives Matter Brooklyn chapter leader, has turned to community gardens as a food source. Once they acquire the necessary funding, the chapter plans to open two community gardens where residents can harvest fresh produce for free.
“When you look at a lot of the food that our community gets, one, most of the food is not fresh as is,” Beckford said. “It’s like we get the bottom of the barrel type, but yet we get charged way more than many other communities get charged for food items.”
Many are also turning to the internet to share their financial and budgeting wisdom. Denise Jordan, a retired homemaker in Indiana, uses her YouTube channel to offer tips on budgeting, food shopping, and other issues when it comes to living on a smaller budget. Others on YouTube also teach gardening, investing, and starting a small business.