Food Pantries Struggle As Need Grows
In any other business, a growth of 15 - 30 prercent in one year is a sign of success.
For Jefferson County's food pantries, it's a sign of just how many people are struggling.
"People who several years ago came in and donated are people who are now coming in because they need the food pantry," said Darlene Jensen, who runs the Village Ecumenical Ministries food pantry in Carthage.
At the end of last week, the food pantry's shelves were full. But the pantry is out of grant money, which means pantry volunteers are organizing fund-raisers, and soliciting donations.
Both the Carthage food pantry, and several food pantries run by the Community Action Planning Council, put the increase in need well into double digits.
"Across the board it's up, I would say, at least 30 percent from last year," Jensen said.
Melinda Gault of the Community Action Planning Council puts the increase at 15 percent, still enough to strain the Council's resources.
"We've had to go from having people come three times a month to two times a month, because we need to conserve," Gault said.
Officials point to persistent high unemployment - and the rising price of other things, like gas - as the reason for the growth in need.
Saturday, May 18, 2013, Watertown, NY
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