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Arizona's largest food bank sees surge in demand

More Arizona families appear to be struggling to put food on the table. The state’s largest food bank, St. Mary's, has seen a surge in demand this spring. 

“We’ve seen a big jump year-over-year," said Jerry Brown, a spokesperson for St. Mary's Food Bank.

Brown said in April, St. Mary's Food Bank's main Phoenix facility has been serving 15%-20% more families than it did at the same time last year and other facilities have seen even higher increases. 

"That breaks down to a couple of hundred more families a day coming to the food bank for help,” Brown said. 

Brown said high inflation and increasing rent prices are putting pressure on family budgets at a time when federal pandemic assistance programs are expiring.

"Those families that were on the edge already are seeing even more struggles," Brown said. 

Brown said he expects summer will be even busier when kids are out of school. He said the food bank will need more volunteers and donations in the months ahead.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.