Locals react, struggle with rising prices from inflation

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 9:24 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Due to rising prices and changing economic conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that consumer inflation jumped 7.9% over the past year nationwide, the sharpest spike since 1982.

Inflation is also having a significant impact on Florida households. A recent study by Quote Wizard shows since June 2021, 55% of Florida residents are having a hard time paying for their usual household expenses.

Here locally, residents will tell you they’re facing the same struggles. As the rate of inflation drives prices up, that might be driving down the number of times people swipe their credit cards.

“I think it’s very hard, especially for locals here,” Panama City Beach resident April Thompson said.

Here in Panama City Beach, locals will tell you they feel the effects of inflation in their everyday lives.

“You see it at the grocery store, you see it clearly here at the gas pump,” Panama City Beach vacationer Andrea Bergman said.

Residents say inflation is causing the price of groceries to skyrocket.

“If the prices aren’t going up, the quantity is going down. The amount you get where you used to get 12 ounces in something, you’re only getting six or eight ounces now for the same price, or you get the same amount for a higher price,” Panama City Beach resident Billy McAdams said.

A higher price you might see on some of your favorite items.

“You see everything that you normally buy going up by two, three, or even $10 sometimes,” said Thompson.

Because of this, local food pantries have seen a monthly upward trend in customers since June 2021.

“In talking with the customers when they come in, they have lost their jobs, they cannot find a job, they have families to support, and so it’s very difficult for them to make ends meet,” Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church food pantry manager Sandy Young said.

Now support is what’s needed for people who need to put food on the table for their families.

“We are their only way, their only means of providing food to their families. That’s very important to a mom and dad to be able to feed their children,” said Young.

And now families have to be cognizant of how they do just that.

“Not being able to go out to eat all the time now,” said Thompson.

“I buy less of what I used to buy,” said McAdams.

A problem most will say they’re facing, no matter the situation.

The Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church food pantry managers tell us they served almost 14,000 meals in 2021, more than ever before. We’re told the upward trend carried over to this year, with almost 2,300 meals served in January and more than 2,000 meals served in February. They said they expect that number to rise this month as locals continue to struggle with inflation.

The Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church food pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon every week. Each person will be served three meals a day for three days.

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