Across the country, food banks are in desperate need of donations. Right now they're struggling to meet the demand for Thanksgiving dinner baskets.
The York County Food Bank plans to hand out more than 2,000 turkeys to families in need this Thanksgiving, but has collected only half of their goal with their deadline less than a week away.
"Since the economy is bad, some of the people that used to be donors are now recipients," assistant director Deborah Eichelberger said.
Friendly Hands Food Bank faces an unprecedented struggle to meet the demand for Thanksgiving turkeys and trimmings, with 65 turkeys in hand by Friday afternoon and more than 360 baskets to be assembled for a Nov. 20 giveaway.
Fort Myers, FL
At the Harry Chapin Food Bank off Fowler Street in Fort Myers, they have until Monday to reach their goal of 9,000 turkeys. They said Tuesday they are about half way there with less than a week to go. They're hoping the community will step in to help.
Inside the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Monday's deadline to collect 9,000 turkeys will come fast. Those turkeys will be distributed to the 150 local organizations that provide Thanksgiving meals to those that need it the most.
Pantry organizers say this year, they're seeing at least 10 percent more families coming in, which makes it harder to keep shelves stocked.
The River Food Pantry in Madison serves 500-600 families every week.
"Our budget for food this year was $6,200 per month and we're actually spending over $10,200 month on food," says Jenny Czerkas, founder of The River Food Bank.
More specifically, Agape, the largest food pantry in Carroll County, needs donations for its Thanksgiving basket program. It will also need help to meet the town's deadline to rehabilitate a building that's supposed to become Agape's new location.
For the last decade, Agape, a registered non-profit, has provided food baskets at Thanksgiving time to hungry families in the Ossipee area. Agape hopes to distribute about 250 food baskets before Thanksgiving.
Private donations and assistance from government agencies have kept the baskets full in the past but resources are drying up, said Kevin Straughan who founded Agape with his wife, Janna. By Nov. 18, Agape needs people to donate fixings like gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
in a town to the north:
Vaughan Community Service Inc., in North Conway, is also seeing increased demand for help — especially from people who haven't asked in the past, said Vaughan administrator Denise Leighton. During the month of October, Vaughan served 8,000 meals. To date, 125 people have sought Thanksgiving food baskets from Vaughan.
"I keep getting calls every day," said Leighton of the demand for baskets.
There are more people in need, and fewer resources to help them. It's a sad state of alleged economic recovery when some of the folks who used to be donors to food pantries are now recipients.
According to worldhunger.org
In 2010, 17.2 million households, 14.5 percent of households (approximately one in seven), were food insecure, the highest number ever recorded in the United States.
In 2010, about one-third of food-insecure households (6.7 million households, or 5.4 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security (compared with 4.7 million households (4.1 percent) in 2007. In households with very low food security, the food intake of some household members was reduced, and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the household’s food insecurity.
In 2010, children were food insecure at times during the year in 9.8 percent of households with children (3.9 million households.) In one percent of households with children,one or more of the children experienced the most severe food-insecure condition measured by USDA, very low food security, in which meals were irregular and food intake was below levels considered adequate by caregivers.
All this in the wealthiest country in the world. As we approach the Thanksgiving Day holiday, if you can afford to make a donation to a local food pantry, please do. The need is great, and continuing to grow.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org