Small food pantries need help for the holidays

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Requests for assistance at local food pantries has doubled with cutbacks to unemployment benefits in July and cuts to food stamps in November.

"This is the time of the year that [food donations] should be pouring in and that's not happening," said Clyde Fitzgerald, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. This time last year the food bank was sending out 27 tons of food a day, tis years it's down to 25 tons. "It's tens of thousands of meals each day that we are not able to distribute.

The Second Harvest Food Bank serves 18 counties, most have an unemployment rate higher than the federal level and many higher that the state level.

In addition to food, donations of personal supplies are also in greater demand. "If [people in need] are going to buy one or the other, chances are they are going to buy food because they don't have enough money for the other personal items," said Barbara Hunsucker with the King Outreach Ministry in King. The local non-profit is partnering with the Second Harvest Food Bank and in addition to helping supply food to those in need in the King community they work to provide personal items. "Toothbrushes, tooth paste, deodorant soup, shampoo, - a lot of these are things we don't get at the food bank and so we try to help with those items anyway we can."

The Second Harvest Food Bank is hold more food drives this holiday season to try and make up for the lost. Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Food Lion are all helping with food drivers throughout the months of November and December. To learn more on how you can help visit www.hungernwnc.org or contact your local food pantry.

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