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Food bank reports shortages before holidays

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 12 2013 05:12:48 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 12 2013 08:38:57 PM CST

As Thanksgiving approaches, local food banks are feeling the pinch as demand increases.

As Thanksgiving approaches, local food banks are feeling the pinch as demand increases.

The Northampton Area Food Bank recently welcomed a large supply of donations, but those will go out the door quicker than they came in.

"We will pack tomorrow, most of the shelves by the end of morning will be empty and we'll have to restock," said Martin Nuscher with the Northampton Area Food Bank.

The NAFB provided meals for more than 360 families just last month.

With some food stamp benefits getting the ax, those numbers are expected to rise.

"With the recent reduction, we imagine people may need to sustain themselves with our services," Nuscher said.

Nuscher said each family gets about a week's worth of food every month. There isn't much room leftover for specialty items.

"Sometimes we are falling short and having to reduce that because of demand and lack of funds," Nuscher said.

In previous years, the pantry provided families with a turkey and all of the side items, including dessert. But this year, the money and resources just aren't there.

"Now, pretty much just meat on table. That's the best we can do," Nuscher said.

In fact, the pantry spent more than $50,000 this year to help provide the basic items for families it supports.

" All year we have been short in food, state budgets are tight, the government has only what it can give," Nuscher said.

Nuscher said the demand is also growing as food prices increase and the job market plummets.

Nuscher said the pantry truly started feeling the pinch this summer. While Nuscher wishes the pantry could do more for the holidays, he said he's more concerned with the everyday demands. Martin Nuscher worries more about the everyday needs..

"Canned meat, beef stews, peanut butter, jelly is always an issue," Nuscher said.

Nuscher said donations can be dropped off at the pantry on Wednesday's between 9:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Donors should also check the pantry website for donation times.

Food pantries across the region are facing a similar situation.

Allentown's Second Harvest Food Bank said the food supply is fine for now, but the need is growing exponentially, week by week.

Greater Berks Food Bank is putting out an "SOS" for turkeys.