Cost Of Living Increases

January 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Concerns about the economy are squeezing several local non-profit agencies that help those in need.As the holidays come to an end so too have donations to local charities. "This is absolutely the lowest the food bank has ever been."

Community Food Bank President Dana Wilkie says there are lots of reasons the warehouse is empty; many people already donated during the holidays; grocery stores are more efficient and have less overstock to give away; local resources were diverted to help victims of the recent southland fires; and last January's devastating citrus freeze.

Dana Wilkie: "Well, normally this whole wall would be full of food that we provide to our emergency assistance program families and you can see there's literally nothing here."

Most of the boxes that are here are beverages, pet food and shaving cream.

"But it's not gonna put food on someone's table. So what we really need right now are non-perishable, shelf-stable items, canned fruits, canned vegetables."

Cindy Cron ran out of food and money but got some help from Catholic Charities.

Cindy Cron: "So I needed a little something to hold me by until the card kicks in with more food stamps so I can get me some more food."

But even Catholic Charities are in need of some charity itself these days.

Kelly Lilles: "Funds. We need donations yesterday. We need people to understand that Catholic Charities helps more than just Catholics, we help anybody that comes to our doors.

Kelly Lilles says money is so tight that it can no longer help people pay their electric bills or rent. The situation isn't any better at the Marjoree Mason Center where women and children go to escape abuse.

Pam Kallsen: "Money is always the biggest thing. By the time we pay for staff, electrical bills, insurance, just like running a household, that is where we need the greatest support.

Money seems to be the greatest need for charities. The Food Bank says it can stretch one dollar into 8 dollars of food.


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