Food bank low on supplies - November 7, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - November 7, 2008 St. Francis Inn is a soup kitchen in Kensington. Since spring the number of meals served to the poor has increased by 500 a week.

Hope Prison Ministries is a pantry not far from St. Francis. It distributes groceries to almost 300 people each week.

Both the soup kitchen and the pantry receive food from Philabundance. The food bank supplies 600 agencies in the region. As the economy worsens, demand for food continues to increase at the same time donations are falling.

"When you have less donated food coming in and more people needing food, it's a very sobering situation for us, so we're trying to be as creative as possible, in hoping that we can reach out a wider net for donations of food," Martha Muccino of Philabundance said.

There are many empty shelves at the food bank. If they can't be restocked through food donations Philabundance has to buy the food. Very often the need is for protein items and some aren't very exotic.

"There are items that we always need, that's tuna fish, peanut butter and jelly, things of that nature," Muccino said.

Meanwhile those on the front lines of feeding the needy say they are seeing many new faces in the crowd.

"It's very noticeable that we have more families, more single parent families with their children, people we never see before. The other category that increases dramatically is senior citizens," Michael Duffy of St. Francis Inn said.

As the holidays draw near the demand for food will likely go even higher. Philabundance and all area food banks accept monetary donations that can be made on line or with food coupons found in markets.

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