(03/05/12) - The tough economy has hit a local charity hard. The Shiawassee United way will close its food pantry early this week because there is not enough food.
The pantry shelves are almost bare and there's plenty of room in the freezers. The charity is servicing a growing number of people, with dwindling funds and resources.
"We're seeing more people coming in, many of the working poor. Where we fed 1,500 before a year ago, we now are feeding 2,500 out of this pantry alone, even though we are a member of a 14-member pantry alliance the Shiawasse County Hunger Network," said CEO of the Shiawassee United Way Retta Parsons.
The charity helps about 100 families a week, which is double the number of people this pantry helped feed last year.
"We have enough food for Monday and then after that we have to wait until the second Tuesday of the month when a semi load will come in," Parsons said.
The Shiawassee United Way hopes the delivery truck will bring enough food, so the pantry can reopen next Tuesday, because there are a lot of people depending the charity.
"Folks don't realize that if two adults are working full time at minimum wage in the state of Michigan, they do not qualify for food assistance, so we have a lot of working poor people and there is a dis-incentive to work, so the Shiawassee United Way is trying to encourage people to stay employed. If you have non-perishable food in your cabinet and you can help out the Shiawasee United Way please bring it to 310 W. Main Street," Parsons said.
The United Way will also take cash to help restock the shelves. For more information on how you can help, call 989-723-7512.
In the meantime, Catholic Charities of Shiawassee County will keep its food pantry open Tuesday and Wednesday this week from 12-3 p.m. to help those who would have gone to the United Way.
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