TYLER, Texas (KETK)-  Thanksgiving is around the corner. Unfortunately, some East Texas families are struggling to put food on the table.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in labor shortages, supply chain issues, and inflation. Unfortunately, prices are continuing to rise at the grocery store. Before the lockdown, not many people thought about where their food came from, how far it had to travel, and what it takes to produce mass amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Most empty shelves in local grocery stores are due to supply chain issues which in turn cause prices to rise. Now, East Texans are turning to organizations for help. Tecoria Smith, Director of WIC Northeast Texas said they’ve seen an increase of community members needing assistance.

“We found our numbers to grow quite a bit this year. Almost about 500 families,” said Smith. WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. A program for pregnant, breastfeeding women, and families with children younger than 5 years of age. The organization works to make sure that no one goes hungry.

“We are here to support our families in the community. Having access to fresh fruits and vegetables that help with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins with development,” said Smith. Experts are saying that the prices we are seeing now are expected to stay around for a while.

“Really varies sector by sector and good by good. So if prices are really high right now, there’s a good chance they’ll come back down. Other things will just stabilize and where they are a year from now is where they are now,” said Dr. Kyle Anderson, Economist at IU Kelley School of Business. If you’re looking to avoid these high prices at the grocery store, seeking out local farmer markets and financial assistance programs can provide relief.

“We are still able to stay much more steady because again we are not relying on the transportation and the distribution centers and all of things that you see in these chains. Our farmers are just down the road. So we are less effected than the big food chains,” said Manager of Winnsboro Farmer’s Market, Stacy Finley.

Another way to avoid high prices are to make purchases now. Experts say that if you wait too long, you may have to spend more cash because of inflation.