Food Banks See Spike in Demand
Former donors now need donations: bank director
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 27, 2008 5:24 PM CST
Veronica Lewis smiles as President-elect Barack Obama, and his family distribute the Thanksgiving turkeys at the food bank at St. Columbus Catholic Church in Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – As millions of American families gathered to give thanks for what they have, food banks and shelters struggled to cope with a spike in demand for their services. "Food bank after food bank tells me it's new faces, people they haven't seen before," says one charity spokesman in Chicago. "They will tell you it's the worst it's ever been."

Some examples:

  • The city food bank in Chicago has seen a 33% increase in food pantry demand from July to September, compared to the same period last year.
  • Donations to the Salvation Army in the Washington, DC, area have dropped 20 percent, while requests for assistance have risen 30%.
  • The Food Bank of Alaska dipped into its Christmas reserves to make sure everyone seeking Thanksgiving Day donations received them. The food bank handed out turkey dinners to 5,787 people, about one-third more than last year.