More Florida poor going to food banks

Miami HeraldSeptember 2, 2011 

It’s a Wednesday morning, and a row of people are standing outside Food of Life Ministries in Homestead.

It’s a queue that forms twice a week, lately more men than in the past, increasingly formed by men, the working poor, more of the kind of folk who never before waited in line for free canned corn. By the end of the month, some 4,000 people will have tapped into the ministry’s food pantry in a desperate pursuit to make ends meet.

“I never tried to get help, because I have always been able to help myself,” said Ronald Petitfrere, 52, who makes $8 an hour cooking 28 hours a week. “Before, even if the amount you earned per hour was low, you could work overtime and get by. You can’t get more than 30 hours these days. I can’t pay my bills.”

Petitfrere’s predicament is being replayed across South Florida, as more middle and working class people find themselves either out of a job, making less or working fewer hours. For the first time, it’s people like them who are now turning to safety nets like the food pantry at the Food of Life.

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