More and more people of all ages are depending on local food pantries to put food on the table.
"We have really been hit hard," said Joe Hubbard with Catholic Urban Programs in East St. Louis. "Last month we had 65 new families. We serve about 220 families a month, and sometimes, we serve more than that."
Catholic Urban Programs offers a variety of programs to help low-income families with food, rent, and utilities and serves people from all over the metro-east.
A national report, "Food Banks: Hunger's New Staple," recently released by Feeding America, indicates that food pantries have become more than just emergency food providers for needy families: They've become mainstays for people who wouldn't get enough to eat without them.
At the Community Interfaith Food Pantry in Belleville, volunteers constantly work to help clients and keep the shelves stocked.
"We are busy, busy, busy," said Director Jerry Messick. "Our patronage is up to over 600 families a month. My grocery bill last month was over $16,000 and we just ran out of donated food because we were hit so hard this summer."
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