Expenditure squeeze-Ministers feel the sting of rising inflation as more families seek aid.

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This is World Radio and we appreciate you tuning in today. Mary Reichard is my name.

It’s HOST NICK EICHER. I’m Nick Eicher, and this is my website. The rising CPI is the first topic in The World and Everything in It.

Inflation is measured by this economic indicator, and you’ve heard a lot lately about rising prices.

Your family’s budget, no doubt, has provided ample evidence of the issue.

It’s a tough time for everyone, not just families and businesses, says Reichard. Churches are also struggling to keep up with rising costs and rising demand. Lauren Dunn is a WORLD correspondent.

There are about 4,000 pieces of clothing hung here.

By Lauren Dunne: Paul Dohm is in a large, metal building filled with racks full of clothing for sale.

It’s all organized, you know, for men, women, and children. Donations are the only source of this facility’s resources.

Dohm is in charge of His Helping Hands as its executive director. Since 2002, it has been providing services to low-income and at-risk families in Wichita, Kansas. Families in need can receive food three times a month as well as gently used clothing, furniture, and even cars from the ministry.

In the course of a year, Dohm estimates that the ministry serves about 80,000 families. A decrease in the number of people seeking help was observed during COVID. However, the numbers are now on the rise.

DOHM: It does appear that there has been an increase in the number of people in need of food in the last month. And I believe that now that some of the stimulus measures are complete, people’s budgets are beginning to feel the pinch. At this point, we’ve seen a 50% increase in the number of people requesting food.

Additionally, the cost of providing services is rising.

Due to inflation, Dohm estimates that the ministry’s costs have risen by 12 to 15 percent. That’s a lot of money spent on wages, fuel, and waste.

To prepare for the various distributions, we have to discard some donations, which results in an annual waste bill that is quite high.

There has been a 50% to 70% increase in that area.

There has been a three-decade high in inflation in all of the US. Price increases in fuel oil (60%) and gas (50%) have occurred over the past year. Food costs have risen by 5% on average.

Mr. Jerry Bowyer is Vident Financial’s Chief Economist. According to him, lower-income families are more susceptible to the effects of inflation. As a result, it’s not surprising that a nonprofit’s services will be in greater demand.

Due to the fact that inflation does not affect everyone equally, the people they serve are going to need them more. Poverty has a greater impact on the poor because they spend a greater percentage of their income on basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing than wealthy people.

Donors may not provide additional funds to cover the shortfall as ministries deal with rising costs. As Bowyer points out, some donors may not be aware that inflation has a direct impact on the ministries they contribute to.

People tend to give a certain amount of time each year to each organization. They can also fluctuate unnaturally in response to a rise in demand. Of course, the ministries can let them know if the need is greater than they think. However, donors may become weary of hearing that the need is greater than ever before, despite the fact that this is almost certainly true now, regardless of whether it was true in the past.

At Union Rescue Mission, David Hodge serves as the organization’s chief financial officer. It’s a Wichita homeless shelter that’s been around for more than seven decades.

Hodge: We have a home for about 200 homeless men here at our facility. About half of the participants are enrolled in long-term programs that will eventually lead to self-sufficiency. And about half of them are staying in over-night emergency shelters. And our goal is to place them all in long-term treatment so that we can help them reintegrate back into society and live on their own in the future.

According to Hodge, the shelter sees a spike in the number of people seeking assistance during the winter months. This year, however, the shelter was nearly full even during the height of the summer.

Union Rescue Mission’s Bri Smith is an expert in public relations and media relations. She says that the staff had to move chapel services to the cafeteria so they could fit more people.

Mrs. Smith: This is our chapel. Thank you. But right now, it’s crammed to the brim with beds because we’re so overflowing. If we had a church here, this would be it. But we can’t because of the sudden influx of people.

A second facility for the Union Rescue Mission is expected to open in the area by the end of the summer of next year. Its capacity would be increased by twofold as a result of this.

The mission, like His Helping Hands, has been hit hard by the rising cost of just about everything it provides services for.

In order to feed about 300 people a day, the Union Rescue Mission buys about half of the food it needs. The remainder of the food was given to us as a gift. Is that yet another significant outlay? Fuel.

Homelessness is concentrated in the core of downtown Wichita, which is about 10 miles away from our location. So we run a bus service twice a day to and from downtown. As a result, we place a high value on low fuel costs. You’ll also notice that energy costs have risen by about 50% in the last year. For us, a 50% increase in fuel costs equates to an extra $60k in revenue.

Hodge is optimistic about the mission’s future despite the rising costs. It’s still common practice for the shelter’s staff to ask police and social service workers to bring in homeless men. Even at night, teams from the mission go out and invite men they’ve seen on the street.

In terms of our men and new hires, I’ve noticed a noticeable increase in optimism. There’s a growing population, but their hearts are soft and they’re eager to hear about Jesus. Those who have placed their faith in Christ already have a place to call home. It’s where you’ll spend the rest of your life.

Paul Dohm, who started His Helping Hands, is also positive about the organization’s future.

DOHM: Our big God has a lot of faith in us. As far as we know, he has never failed us. If we’re faithful to minister to the people he’s called us to minister to, he’s always been faithful to supply the needs of those areas.

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