SPOKANE, Wash. – Workers at 2nd Harvest said 2013 is the fourth year in a row that the need for food in the Inland Northwest is at an unprecedented level, the non-profit says it is the highest in the group’s 42-year history.
Each year Tom’s Turkey Drive provides many struggling families with a holiday meal they could not have enjoyed or provided for themselves on their own.
"It means that they don't have to choose between bills and celebrating the holiday with their family," says Melissa Cloninger of 2nd Harvest.
The organization drops of cases of food to other non-profits like The Salvation Army each week. More people are coming in to those food banks and some are showing up for the first time.
"People are losing their jobs are having a harder time finding work,” said Sheila Geraghty of The Salvation Army. “Then that can take a toll on a family's resources."
The need for food went up in October at The Salvation Army food bank compared to September. People looking for help to feed their families at that location is up 20 percent from the same time in 2012.
Staff said the struggling economy has too many people still looking for work or bringing in less money than before the recession. Cuts to the food stamps program on Nov. 1 is also sending more people to food banks.
"We are seeing a gradual increase in clients at our food bank and I predict that will just get even bigger," Geraghty said.