Local food pantries starving in lead up to Thanksgiving rush

FamilyThanksgivingHuman InterestUnemployment BenefitsThe Salvation ArmyWarner Bros.

With hardly a week before Thanksgiving, Lora Young counted just four frozen turkeys in a freezer at the Loaves & Fishes, a nonprofit food pantry in Glendale.

That’s not nearly enough to help feed hundreds of low income clients who she said visit the pantry in the hopes of receiving some food for a decent Thanksgiving meal.

But it’s been tough for food pantries in Burbank and Glendale too, with fewer corporate and private donations falling well behind increased demand among those who have been hit hard by the recession.

“We are struggling just like everybody else,” Young said.

Some of those in need have run out of their unemployment benefits and savings while others are families and seniors who struggle to survive on a fixed income, she said.

The Salvation Army Glendale has seen more families from South Glendale use their services and receive donations, which have also declined, said Rick White, the organization’s director of social services and volunteer coordinator.

The nonprofit organization provides food assistance for 150 to 175 families per week.

Adding to the burden of a drop off in donations, White has seen the price of food increase, so a dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

Employees at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center last week saw 300 men and women, including families, who needed food, help paying bills, showers, laundry services and lunch, said Edward Stapleton, the nonprofit’s facilities and pantry manager.

They also signed up 200 families to receive Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.

But the holiday season rush has yet to begin, and food, including staples for a Thanksgiving dinner, is still greatly needed.

“We need to keep this going until May,” he said.

The organization’s largest food and supplies drive effort kicks off during the holiday season, Stapleton added.

Donations come from local churches, service clubs and companies, including Warner Bros. and First Methodist Church. On Monday, a youth soccer team donated food supplies.

Still, the center needs turkeys for the holiday season and gifts for kids and teens, Executive Director Barbara Howell said.

“We just need things that your family would like,” she said.

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FYI

To donate:

Burbank Temporary Aid Center: 1304 West Burbank Blvd. in Burbank, (818) 848-2822.

The Salvation Army Glendale: 320 West Windsor Road in Glendale, (818) 246-5586.

Catholic Charities: Loaves and Fishes, 4322 San Fernando Road in Glendale, (818) 409-3080.

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Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

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