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|December 29th, 2008, 12:29 AM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Food banks feeding 41 percent more people
The volatile economy continues to increase the number of people who are turning to some area food banks and homeless shelters.
Cory's Kitchen Inc., a faith-based nonprofit organization in Irwindale that provides groceries weekly to those in need, has seen nearly three times the number of families compared to last year.
"Last year at this time we were feeding in the neighborhood of 17,000 to 18,000 people. This year we are serving 47,000," said Wayne Leamons, executive director at Cory's Kitchen, 1418 Arrow Highway. "We've grown so large that we had to open another branch.
At Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena, there has been a 30 percent increase this year in the number of people seeking help from the organization, said Clarence Polium, director of intake services at Union Station. Union Station provides food and transitional housing for individuals and families.
It would be nice to say that is an isolated incident, but it is not. Twenty of 21cities surveyed for a new report from U.S. Conference of Mayors reported an increase in requests for food, and 59 percent of those requests came from families. In addition, 16 of 25 cities reported a significant increase in homeless families, with San Francisco among the leaders.
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which serves 700,000 meals every week across the county, has seen a 41 percent increase in people at its 875 shelters.
Officials attribute the increase to the rising unemployment rate, which hit 8.9 percent - almost double from last year - in Los Angeles County.
"The increase is due to the economic downturn we've all seen," said Flori Schutzer, development director of the regional food bank. "There are more people that are not ale to make all of their bills and put food on the table.
As the number of those in need increases, there has been a decline in the number of volunteers and donations, officials said.
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