Food Banks Nearly Overdrawn

Monday, November 19th 2007, 6:34 am
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The nation's food banks say they're seeing increased demand as energy and health care costs rise. Officials say more working-class people need assistance to help deal with rising costs, but many pantries are facing severe shortages and are being forced to cut portions.

One official at Second Harvest, the nation's biggest food bank, says food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are finding they have less surplus food to donate, and government help has decreased. At the same time, anti-hunger groups say they're seeing growing demand due to lost jobs, low wages and natural disasters. And as winter approaches, food pantry operators aren't optimistic. They say struggling families have yet to see how rising heating costs will affect them. The operators say they're trying to stretch resources as much as they can, are worried they won't be able to give many families what they need.