HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Rising inflation has increased the dependency on food banks as families try to cut down on costs.

Inflation continues to get worse in America, with the latest CPI report showing Food At Home prices rising 12% over the last 12 months — the largest yearly increase since 1979.

The inflation, combined with $5 plus gas prices, groceries are really eating out of consumers pockets.

“This may be where food prices are for the entire duration of the year,” Jason Jakobowski, who runs the statewide food bank Connecticut Foodshare, said.

Jakobowski said more families have been reliant on pantries due to the price hikes, with the demand really increasing over the past few months.

One of the 500 food pantries in Connecticut, Hands on Hartford, has all of its products shipped by trucks. Jakobowski said high diesel prices are taking a toll on the organization.

“In general, we are not stopping what we are doing,” Jakobowski said. “Which means we will have to absorb whatever the price increase is.”

He noted that prices of their products are going up across the board, with some worse than others.

“A trailer load of peanut butter that may have cost $35,000 a year ago, now is costing us $42,000,” Jakobowski said. “We have some products that have gone up 40%.”

Due to supply chain issues, he said they can rarely find affordable meat products. Produce has been okay, however, thanks to the support of local farms. Typical pantry staples, like dry pasta and rice, are also hard to come by, he said.

With schools letting out soon, Jakobowski said they’re prepared for a summer surge.

“Most kids are out of school, they are used to one, two, sometimes three meals a day in school, now those are taken away, so it makes it a more difficult time of year,” Jakobowski said.

Nearly half a million people in Connecticut struggle with food insecurity. No matter how many need their help, he says they’ll always be around even in the toughest times.

Jakobowski credits donors for being their saving grace.

“That’s the only thing that has kept us going through the pandemic, and this economic downturn that we have experienced,” he said.

Click here to donate to Connecticut Foodshare.