ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Despite reports of a recovery, more local families are relying on food pantries to eat, according to the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
United Way CEO and President Gary Dollar says there are 172,000 “food insecure” children in area – children whose families don’t know how they’ll feed them month-to-month. And Dollar says local food pantries are giving out 65,000 meals-per-month now, compared with 45,000 per-month in 2007.
“Families who have been unemployed for an extended period of time have used up all their resources,” Dollar said, “and now food has become a real critical issue in our community.”
Dollar says he hears reports from the United Way 211 Help Line service about people so unaccustomed to needing food help, that they request a food pantry away from their home so no one will recognize them.
The United Way is currently hoping to raise $72 million dollars in its annual campaign for area agencies that help the poor. The goal is a million dollars higher than last year’s.
Dollar says even a small contribution can help feed hungry children in the area.
“Five-dollars, a gift of five-dollars, can provide food for a week for a child,” Dollar said, “Through the pantries, they’re able to get that food out to individuals at a very low cost.”
The United Way annual fundraising campaign runs through November 7.