SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Record-high inflation is squeezing the life out of holiday cheer for many Greater Springfield families who find themselves needing help. 22News found out how inflation is adding to the stress of the holidays.

Paul Mina, executive director for United Way of Pioneer Valley, calls inflation insidious the way it silently damages lives. Mina estimates inflation has caused an estimated twenty five percent jump in the number of Springfield area now in the ranks of the needy. Mina recalls meeting one such woman in tears recently, at his agency’s Chicopee food pantry.

A lady came in, I was there she said I’ve never been to this. They’ve reduced my hours and I can’t afford to go to the supermarket anymore to buy groceries…

Paul Mina, Executive Director for United Way of Pioneer Valley

According to Paul Mina, inflation is also hurting the sources of major United Way funding-the individuals and institutions who donate large sums to sustain United way programs for the poor.

They can’t give us as much money as their investments and their resources aren’t growing and they feel they can’t in the marketplace, their budgets and their costs are few..

Paul Mina, Executive Director for United Way of Pioneer Valley

It’s a difficult time for all of us, especially people living on the edge of being needy, who’ve never had this experience before, says Paul Mina of the United Way a prevailing condition until there’s a change in the inflationary spiral.