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Unexpected Job Loss Places More Families in Need

November 22, 2010

BOONVILLE, N.C. - Tough economic times continue to weigh heavy on North Carolina families as the holiday season begins. Community action agencies across the state are seeing an increased need this year, with seniors being one population finding themselves asking for help because their support system is falling short.

Brenda Holbrook of the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District explains that traditional sources of help may in turn be helpless.

"These folks have family that may be around them or may live in another state, but can't supply the food for these folks because they just don't have it themselves."

The Meals on Wheels program in Yadkin Valley currently has a waiting list of seniors who need help, but there's no money to pay for them. To accommodate more seniors, the program started delivering food only four days a week to reduce costs.

The demand placed on food pantries has also increased. The Second Harvest Food Bank in Cumberland County is helping 85,000 people a month, up from 72,000 at this time last year. CEO Cynthia Wilson of the Cumberland
County Community Action Program
explains that their client base is changing.

"There are people who would never think that they would ever go to a food pantry. They no longer have either the amount of income, or they have no income at all."

Children are also feeling the pinch of the economy. In Cumberland County, more than half of school children are on free or reduced-price lunches.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC