PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As U.S. inflation soared to 9.1% in June, reaching a 40-year high, consumers are also seeing grocery bills on the rise. KOIN 6 News spoke with a grocery store owner and a food bank on ways to access food and save money.

Wynston Estis, general manager of Food Front Grocery Co-Op in Portland, advises that consumers can save money, for example, if they “eat seasonally, because, strawberries are much more expensive in November than they are now.” Estis added “and then learn how to store your food properly.”

Estis also says buying in bulk, eating a variety of foods, and learning to substitute ingredients in your recipes can help.

The White House told KOIN 6 News on Wednesday that conflicts overseas is to blame for the high costs.

“The president has always been clear that Putin’s war in Ukraine was going to have costs for American families,” said Sameera Fazili of the National Economic Council.

While rising prices are an inconvenience for some, for others, it means not being able to get dinner on the table.

“It breaks my heart to see the level of challenge and suffering our community is going through,” said Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank.

She says the past couple of years have been the hardest in her nearly three decades working at a food bank. In 2022, their partners are seeing a 34-40% increase in need.

Morgan pointed out you can call 211 to find a food pantry in your area, “food assistance is available, please don’t suffer in silence.” She also encourages others to donate to food banks if they are able, explaining that “we are going through a historically high rate of hunger in Oregon.”

Food Front Grocery Co-Op also mentioned how tough inflation has been for grocery stores and local farmers but said there are a lot of benefits to shopping local for food as well, including being able to talk to the growers or owners about which food will stretch their dollar the farthest.