Economy hurting the hungry

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, March 7, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A local food bank is feeling the effects of a slowing economy. People are donating less to the Golden Harvest Food Bank and they say it's partly due to the rise in grocery prices.

Valecia Story gets food from a group called the Alleluia Community every week.

"I'm very thankful and very grateful that I'm able to come here," she said.

She has health problems and is not able to work. Getting the food makes life easier.

About 25 to 40 people come out to get the food every Friday and the group is one of about 500 that gets food from the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

But the bank's ability to provide food is now a little harder, thanks to rising grocery costs.

"You look at one can of corn and wonder why it used to be 33 cents a can and now it's 50 cents a can," said Craig Garner, the product logistics manager for Golden Harvest.

He helps organize food donations for the food bank and says people aren't donating as much because food prices are up.

That leaves the bank spending more of its own money to keep feeding people.

He says they'll probably spend about twice as much as last year because donations are down. And that money has less spending power.

"Prices we paid two, three, four months ago have increased," he said.

For now, they have enough money to keep providing food, but Garner says if things continue to get worse they may have to cut back on how many people they help.

"I guess that's where the faith comes in," he said.

And Story says she, too, has faith things will get better.

"It would be a great struggle for me, if this place didn't exist," she said.

The food bank is also affected by gas prices. They budgeted about $100,000 for diesel this year and Garner says they'll probably surpass that.

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