Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chicago area food pantries on CBS2

Yesterday, CBS2 ran a story about the rising need at Chicago area pantries. Kate Maehr, exec director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, gave a statement. AAANNNDDD...the Niles Township Food Pantry was highlighted. Our own Cynthia Carranza, the director, gave them a tour and showed them the bare shelves at our local food pantry. The written portion below was strangely edited on the quotes, but it gives you an idea of what is on the video.

Great job, Cynthia and Kate!

CHICAGO (CBS) ― Making ends meet is becoming a struggle for more and more people everyday. Unemployment is up and it seems new layoffs are announced almost every day.

CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports that it has more people than ever before turning to food pantries for help, but at the same time, the pantries themselves are having a hard time keeping the shelves stocked.

At a Southwest Side church, hundreds of people lined up for food on Wednesday.

Chicagoan Alfredo Velazco said, "I come here every Wednesday and I'm very grateful."

Carla Munoz said, "It is really good...don't have's good."

Elizabeth Arreola, the food pantry's longtime director, said demand is so great that she can barely keep up.

"There are so many...won't have enough...and their children," Arreola said. Almost 4,500 people came to the food pantry for bags of food in July, up from 3,200 people in June. She and others said it's a direct result of the sinking economy.

Kate Maehr, Executive Director of the Chicago Food Depository, said, "For so many people...gas in their tank...or at a pantry."

But food demand hasn't increased only in Chicago; at the Niles Township Food Pantry, demand has risen 25 percent in the last couple of months.

"This is totally bare...full. To the max."

Cynthia Carranza's pantry serves all or part of six northern suburbs. For the first time in years, she'll have to restock before the month is out.

"I have people coming to me with masters degrees...they can't make ends meet," Carranza said.

It's a harsh reminder that no one is immune from these tough times. While demand is up, donations to many pantries are down, making it harder for them to help those in need.

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