Demand for food, clothing skyrocketing

December 5, 2008 5:38:12 PM PST
The growing number of people who are losing their jobs and their homes are taxing already strained resources.

A number of agencies in Silicon Valley have declared a regional crisis.

Nicole Phillips went from working at a semiconductor company to standing in line for food.

"I was just laid off in September. So having two teenagers, of course they're growing and eating all the time," she said.

This is just one example of the dire need. Sacred Heart Community Service says in the last four months the demand for food and clothing has gone up 37% while donations last month were down 40%.

Whether it is food banks or family shelters, the numbers reflect the now official recession.

That's why on Friday more than 100 representatives from overwhelmed and frayed safety net groups agreed that Silicon Valley is facing a regional crisis.

"This is different than the dot com bust. This is differentfrom what anybody has seen before. We are seeing huge numbers of middle class people," said Dr. Emmett Carson CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The Food and Shelter Summit was designed for non-profits to determine the scope of the crisis and join forces.

If the government can help Wall Street and Main Street, non-profits say more money is now needed to help those on the side streets. They will also push for changes in public policy such as an overhaul of the food stamp program.

"It's both demeaning in how people are treated and also cumbersome bureaucratically. How can we create a more effective system so that these resources are going to folks who need it," asked Poncho Guevara with Sacred Heart Community Service.

Everyday more people like Nicole who used to help those in need are in need themselves. Non-profits say their hope is more people will give, even if in smaller amounts.

ABC7 is holding a special holiday food drive this coming Monday as part of our on-going End Hunger Now campaign. We've teamed up with Safeway stores to help fill the need this season.

Click here to find out how to contribute or call 1-800-870-FOOD.


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