VALLEY PARK, MO –(KMOX)–They gave away 571 turkeys to the poor and the working poor over the weekend, and they expect to give away another 70 before Thanksgiving.
The Circle of Concern Food Pantry is giving away more food than ever before, feeding twice as many families now as it did in 2007 before the recession began.
“What’s really scary is we’re still meeting people who have recently lost their jobs,” said Circle of Concern Executive Director Glen Koenen, “Or they’re in jobs where the wages just aren’t there, and they’re not getting the wages they got even two years ago.”
Koenen says there are some 400,000 people each month getting help from food pantries across the region and he expects it to get worse.
“Mainly because we’ve lost the Chrysler plant and all these big employers, and even when they get jobs, they’re not paying as much as they used to.”
Among those seeking help Monday morning, a woman who lost her job in property management, a real estate speculator who had been flipping houses and lost his financing, and a woman who says she is bi-polar and lost her job tending bar.
They didn’t want to give their names, but told similar stories. Once self-sufficient, they never imagined they would end up at a food pantry.
“I never thought it would be me, but I have to feed my two kids,” said a woman waiting in line. She spoke of growing up in a family that owned a restaurant and food was plentiful. Her four-year old son was playing in the lobby with a toy, while she waited for a caseworker to call her name and give her a turkey.