Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Food banks seeing greater need in Pittsburgh area

Requests for help from food banks have increased throughout America, this morning we see a perspective on the demand from Pittsburgh. The continued loss of jobs across the states has lent to the food banks being used more and more, the largest increase have come from people in richer, suburban areas.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, writer Daveen Rae Kurutz surveyed food banks in the Pittsburgh area. Rae Kurtz also did something that we don't often see in articles of this type, she also asked for a quote from a national organization, we've included that in this snippet.

The line wrapped around the parking lot of the food bank as officials expected to give food to about 900 families during the December distribution at its Duquesne warehouse. Typically, 500 to 700 families show up for the monthly distributions, said spokeswoman Iris Valanti.

"People get strapped not just because of the holiday, but also heat bills," Valanti said.

The number of people in Southwestern Pennsylvania in need of food this holiday season is up 30 percent from last year, officials estimate. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which serves 11 counties in the region, is assisting about 100,000 people monthly. Each month, between 1,500 and 2,000 new households sign up for assistance, Valanti said.

Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization that has been providing meals for 30 years, served more than 2.6 billion pounds of food to the hungry this year.

"This is the worst it's ever been," said Ross Fraser, spokesman for the Chicago-based organization. "Four years ago was a walk in the park compared with what we're going through now. All of the country is hurting."

Fraser said the hardest hit areas in the country include Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Florida.

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