Food donations scarce in tough economy

April 29, 2008 6:36:17 PM PDT
Low income families in New Jersey are having a harder time finding donated food because of a tougher economy.Cathyrine Foster is a senior citizen raising 3 young adopted children. She relies on groceries from a local pantry to help put food on her family's table.

Foster is one of 100 people receiving food from the Living Word Fellowship and First Baptist Church Pantry in Blackwood.

Food banks and pantries say they have seen a significant increase in the number of first time requests for food in large part because of spiraling fuel costs cutting sharply into family budgets.

Deacon Ben Coates, a pantry director, says to make matters worse, food supplies through donations aren't as plentiful as they use to be.

Coate's pantry is one of 240 agencies receiving groceries from the Food Bank of South Jersey which provides over 4 million pounds of food a year. Shortages are becoming evident here.

Val Traore says the Food Bank has faired better than some because of a large state grant that enabled it to stockpile food. In addition, the bank has a small fleet of trucks that are used to pick up food donations

With donations also down, Traore says food shortages will be quite evident in the next 45 days; this means that recipients like Cathyrine Foster can expect fewer groceries.