Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis typically produces tens of thousands of Thanksgiving meals for the hungry. Their motto: âFill the plates with food and live in the hope of Christ. This year, they might run out of the first before everyone is served.
Sam Brown, a chef with Christian Social Services and the Homeless Ministry, said he feared he had enough turkeys. From California to Chicago, there are nationwide reports of turkey shortages and massive price increases, both of which will affect the nonprofits that are feeding people this season.
Shipping orders are running out of time due to difficulty in finding truck drivers. The department is understaffed and is still trying to hire a dishwasher.
Hundreds of charities across the country are feeling the tightening of the global supply chain crisis, which is gaining national attention ahead of the holiday season. New research shows that nearly half of churches and faith-based organizations are involved in feeding the hungry, and this year they are forced to change their processes due to longer wait times, product shortages and unstable market expectations.
In some cases, departments were able to move plans forward normally. In other cases, depending on demand and access to resources, they have seen how supply chain issues have impacted those they are trying to serve, feeding the hungry in their communities. own neighborhoods to sending Christian resources around the world.
The current struggles are not due to a lack of community generosity. Despite the economic downturn last year, Americans actually donated more money in 2020 than in 2019. Although numbers for 2021 are yet to be released, the Chronicle of philanthropy predicted that they will increase.
Demand for housing and food increased by about 25% last year in Wheeler Mission, and they expect the same levels this year, but with less access to the materials they need, Perry Hines said. , Director of development.
Wheeler tries to anticipate needs for food, shelter, and other items well in advance, not knowing which items might be delayed in the supply chain. âTime will tell,â he said.
Feeding America and other charities explained how supply chain issues have also driven up food prices for families in need and the food banks themselves. Some plan to distribute chicken instead of turkey as a cost saving measure this year.
Our Calling, a homeless ministry in Dallas that serves more than 10,000 people a year, has already had to pivot to rely on donations to secure supplies for the growing homeless population there. âWe need simple things like awareness vehicles, food supplies, shoes and hygiene items,â said Wayne Walker, CEO of Our Calling. “Unfortunately, a lot of them are out of stock.”
The Dallas Community Ministries Network has launched a local donation campaign for hygiene items such as deodorant, toothpaste and soap. Prisons have also struggled to store basic personal items regularly purchased by inmates.
Fortunately, some have yet to be affected and expect to be able to plan ahead for a normal vacation period.
Convoy of Hope, which provides food, community outreach and disaster response year-round, has its own fleet of trucks and has been able to overcome some of the equipment shortages in the United States. The Springfield, Missouri-based charity does not anticipate needing to cancel or cut back any of its vacation programs thanks to a warehouse already stocked with food, water and supplies.
âOur logistics team spends a lot more time planning our deliveries and monitoring them throughout the delivery, to ensure that the relief supplies we send get where they need to be,â said Ethan Forhetz, porte -national voice of Convoy of Hope. . âNavigating this crisis has not been easy, but the Lord continues to fight his way. “
Christians are also examining how supply chain bottlenecks could affect crucial holiday sales for publishers and booksellers. So far, the book industry has already been disrupted by a shortage of paper, a labor shortage and shipping delays.
“It’s everything from the inability to get the books to press on time to the problems of books and Bibles printed overseas being slowed down by shipping problems,” said Bill Craig, senior vice president of publishing and ministerial experiences at Lifeway Christian Resources.
Lifeway, which closed all of its physical locations in 2019, has had to use common sense in the past, but the double struggle of a paper shortage and continued pandemic uncertainty is tough, especially as the holidays approach. .
It’s not just the new titles that don’t. Obtaining book reprints and sufficiently securing Lifeway’s Sunday School program has been particularly difficult, both due to supply chain issues and more than a year of disruption to the church during the pandemic. . Both of these parts of Lifeway have been “significantly affected,” said Craig, who also noted a simultaneous increase in digital sales.
One problem has been the lack of shipping containers to transport printed materials to China. Justin Paul Lawrence, senior director of sales and marketing at InterVarsity Press, said his company has so far dodged major issues for new releases, in part because it does the vast majority of its printing nationally. . Despite this, they had to change their ordering and planning tactics to accommodate the delays.
âBefore, we had to talk about print delays every six months or so,â he said. “Now it’s every two weeks or a week.”
Most industries are experiencing something similar and some of them have unknowingly contributed to the problem. When publishers and other businesses started noticing the first shortages, they started sourcing items, creating even more demand for an already overloaded and understaffed system.
Safeguards have also affected ministries that send shipments of Bibles and other documents abroad.
âThe containers are about 30-50% more than what we used to pay,â said Jason Woolford of Mission Cry, who sent 1.2 million free Bibles through 24 shipping containers last year. âNormally I could have ordered a container and had it here in the same week. At the moment, we are away for a month.
Mission Network News reported that the ministry is trying to send four containers of Bibles and seminary books to Kenya, Ghana and Pakistan before the end of 2021.
The pressure has been less severe for those who print and ship around the country. She Reads Truth, which publishes Advent Bible studies annually, prints its materials in Nashville, where its headquarters are located.
Co-founder Raechel Myers and her team haven’t experienced any delays or shortages with their release of Advent 2021, which is themed around Jesus as “The Eternal Light.”
âWith supply chain issues on our radar,â Myers said Christianity today, âWe just work closely with our printer to make sure we have what we need when we need it. “
Many seasonal studies are also available digitally, as e-books, or as downloadable PDF files.