Salvation Army faces food shortage crisis

Hannibal Salvation Army officials say its food shortage has become a crisis.

This year, the Salvation Army has seen a 60 percent increase in the number of families seeking food. But donations aren't keeping up with demand.

Are you seeing the need in Hannibal growing?

Major Daniels said, "The need has increased since January of this year. And those families are not the poor, they're working families dealing with loss of jobs or loss of one income or just lack of hours because of cutbacks. In the 15 years of my career I have never had a shortage of food like I have this year. It's because we are giving so much food out."

All those cuts mean more pressure on the Salvation Army.

Major Normalene Daniels says during a normal year the Salvation Army would see 100 new families seeking services. This year that number has exploded; with more than 500 families looking for help getting food or paying rent or utility bills.

And those needing help are in many cases the working class...the folks who have given and supported the Salvation Army in the past.

Major Daniels said, "One gentleman came in to me and said I'm normally giving to the salvation army and now I have to ask you."

Normally large scale food drives before Christmas and Easter would hold the Salvation Army through slower giving during the summer. That along with items from the Missouri Food Bank normally is enough to sustain the Salvation Army. But this year the overwhelming demand is out-pacing donations. And with wide-spread hard times even donations are down.

It seems the food shortage isn't just a local problem. Normally The Missouri food pantry delivers eight thousand pounds of food which fills up the entire area here at the Hannibal Salvation army. This month they only delivered two thousand pounds.

And most of the food that *did* arrive was soda and flavored water, not enough to make a meal. And not enough to go around to everyone who needed it. Food in this closet right now would only feed 50 families. That's just a fraction of what's needed and the reason why distribution was cancelled last week.

Major Daniels said, "It breaks my heart to cancel because the need is there. I know people in the community is needing this food. When salvation army can't be there that breaks my heart because we are supposed to be here to help and when we can't be there that really hurts."