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Food Banks, Pantries See Increase In Need

Shoppers are not the only one's feeling the pain of rising costs at the grocery store. A number of local food pantries are having a hard time keeping up with a growing demand for food.That's due, in part, to a decrease in assistance from the USDA.
Empty shelves sit waiting inside Christian Ministries food pantry of Abilene. Last week, the pantry served a record 3-hundred families.

"One comes in they have like five, six people in their family, and we give them food for that amount," Explains Delores Chavez, a volunteer at the pantry. The rising cost of food means less help from government partners.

And pantries like Christian Ministries are having to cut back. "We just cant keep the food on the shelves," says Director Becky Almanzar.

"Everyone is seeing less food, and more demand," says Jody Houston, executive director of the Food Bank of West Central Texas. Last year the Food Bank received around 36-percent of their food from the USDA's food assistance program. This year, it's down to 25-percent.

"We need to be distributing over 5 million pounds of food. So when we are receiving less, we're having to makeup for that buy purchasing some product," Explains Houston.

Chavez understands the growing food crisis, and says it doesn't discriminate. "We get some that are the rich and famous and we get some that have nothing," she says.

Four months ago Chavez walked into the food pantry looking for help. Now, she volunteers. "Food is so high at the stores that we just cant go there anymore. For a family of seven, it's hard," Chavez says.
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