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Longer Lines, Higher Demand At Local Food Pantries

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Local food pantries are reporting big demand this Thanksgiving week and it’s the “new poor” who are pushing the numbers.

At the Emmanuel Seventh Day Adventist Food Pantry just south of downtown, they were lined up around the block. Director Liz Chambwa says demand is up and they’re helping about 600 people a month.

“We’re pretty much in high demand right now,” Chambwa said. “People are losing their jobs, there’s not enough food coming in anymore for donors as much as they used to, so we really have to get out and do a lot of food drives and we get more and more people every week.”

Many of those seen at the pantries are members of the working poor.

“It’s hard,” one patron, who works in security, said bluntly. “I have a job, too, and it’s still hard.”

Similar stories were heard at Circle of Concern Food Pantry in Valley Park where three thousand people a month are getting food help and demand is up 15 percent this year.

“There’s no work. There’s nothing really out there,” a man at Circle of Concern said. “Everyone’s scared to get other people to work for them, they would rather do the work themselves.”

“My husband is disabled, he’s filed for disability and so we’re down to one income,” a woman picking up groceries at the pantry said.

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