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Giving Help and Hope in a Season of Need

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Mary Montford (left) with a client of the Raleigh APRI Food Bank, Cindy, a single mother of two adopted girls and college grad who has been unemployed over a year.

Remember the less fortunate when giving thanks this week

On Thursday most Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with feasting and time spent with friends and family. Unfortunately, too many Americans will go hungry.

The USDA recently reported that a lack of food security for families increased to record levels in 2008. Low food security is defined by an undependable access to food. At very low levels, people go hungry. Last year, 21% of families with children had low or very low food security in the United States.

High unemployment and underemployment means more Americans are in need, and many never thought they'd need assistance. "As many as 70 percent of our clients now are white-collar workers," says Mary Montford who directs the Raleigh APRI food bank. "They used to have high paying jobs, have college degrees, a house, kids in school, and for the first time in their lives, they need the help."

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when food banks and food pantries take in most of their donations for the year. This year is no different, but at the same time, the need is also greater than ever before. Today alone, the Raleigh APRI food bank fed twenty families, says Montford:

"The average was 3 kids per family plus one parent. All in all, we probably fed about 100 people today, and we try to do 3 to 4 weeks worth of food at a time. Also, every family today got what they needed for a Thanksgiving dinner - including a turkey. Many didn't think they could have Thanksgiving this year, and now they can."

Montford estimates she spent $700 to restock the food bank in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. "I've got two months to raise the money to pay off these bills, but that's OK. The folks who we feed need that help now."

If you would like to support the work of the Raleigh APRI food bank, you can do so with a check made payable to: Raleigh APRI, 1408 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27605 and write 'food bank' in the memo line.