ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Western North Carolina food pantries say they're seeing an increase in demand, and officials point to the recent reduction in food stamp benefits as a factor.
Volunteer Carol Romine at the Calvary Episcopal Church food pantry told the Asheville Citizen-Times that on a recent Saturday, the pantry served 199 families, consisting of 733 individuals. One-third of those were children.
MANNA FoodBank executive director Cindy Threlkeld says that with around 98,000 people in western North Carolina getting food assistance, the reductions in benefits add up to around $10 million for the local economy, or around 4 million meals.
Threlkeld said MANNA has heard from area food banks that distribute food directly to residents in the region about growing demand for help.