PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — According to local food banks the fallout from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and inflation are driving up need.

Senator Ron Wyden, who is chair of the finance committee, shared what he thinks needs to be done to get a handle on the problem.

According to Google, the search “food pantries near me” in Oregon increased by 70% in the past year.

One food bank said they’re seeing about a 40% increase in need and soup kitchens locally say they’re seeing more new clients.

Sticker shock at the grocery store means everyone is tightening their belts a bit

“The cost of groceries is up 10% and that increase is 15% when you look at the cost of meat fish and dairy,” said Susannah Morgan from The Oregon Food Bank.

The Oregon Food Bank said 1.5 million people are seeking food assistance in Oregon this year. They said that’s double the number who relied on food banks before the pandemic.

“This morning in Oregon, there were families trying to make decisions about whether to buy groceries or pay rent or pay for medical expenses.”

Senator Wyden shared what he would say to families who are struggling to put food on the table here.

“Not enough is being done to hold down the cost. many of those families spend a lot on insulin,” Wyden said. “Whether it’s medicine, food, rent, what we’re all seeing is inflation hits a lot of families who have very little money like a wrecking ball.”

He said it was essential the enhanced child tax credit be restored and the supplemental nutrition assistance program continues to get resources.