By Andrea Alvarez

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now threatening to cause a global food crisis. Over the last week, fuel prices have slowly cooled down after reaching record highs but the attack on Ukraine isn’t just causing fluctuation at the pump. It’s threatening global food security now, too.

“All of it will impact prices at the store and for us as a food bank. It will cause challenges for us as well,” said Thomas Mantz, CEO and President of Feeding Tampa Bay. “We saw during the pandemic it was disrupted, greatly. But we are expecting there to be further disruptions as we move into a war being fought thousands of miles from here.”

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The local food bank expects to see an impact in the food and supply chain soon.

“What we really have is timing issues and accessibility issues that will impact our communities,” he said. The attack could soon push American food prices higher. Russia and Ukraine are major producers, exporting 30% of the worlds wheat, and more than half of the world’s sunflower oil.

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“And whenever you buy food, it costs money to transport it,” said Mantz. The food bank is also responsible for purchasing food for pantries. “We have about 66 trucks on the road every single day, so when fuel prices rise – and they’re all diesel – 30%, 40%, 50% in such a short time frame, for an organization like ours, our costs skyrocket.”

Gas prices are still having significant impact on the food bank’s ability to meet mission responsibilities.

“So whether we’re buying food from farmers or whether we’re buying food from another part of the United States because it’s what we need here in Tampa, it costs us more money.”

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The food bank is always in need of volunteers and donations. To participate and receive more information on Feeding Tampa Bay, click here.