Food pantries in southeastern Wisconsin seeing increase in families needing help

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Some food pantries in southeastern Wisconsin are expecting demand for food assistance to increase in the coming months. Volunteers at the Hunger Task Force (HTF) are packaging more food boxes than usual.

"It's just been a really tough time for our community. There's been a loss of jobs and families have really struggled," associate director Matt King said.

King said 5,000 more people needed food assistance in the month of August, which is a 10 percent jump from July. The task force now serves 50,000 people.

"With unemployment benefits decreasing, we are anticipating there's going to be a big increase in need continuing for the rest of this calendar year," King said.

Despite the increase, King said the task force is prepared for more families that may need help.

"[We have] plenty of resources to keep the safety net strong here locally," King said.

Patrick Higgins is the agency director at Project Concern in Cudahy. The food pantry has seen a 15 percent increase in families needing help in the past month.

"We are close to serving 300 families and I don't expect it to be much longer before we're over 300 families again," Higgins said.

Higgins said the extra food share benefits given to families during the pandemic is running out. He said some families were given a couple extra hundred dollars a month to go grocery shopping.

"So, that allows fewer people to have to come to the emergency food pantry as the last line of defense," Higgins said.

Now, Higgins is starting to see familiar faces again and is preparing for even more people in need.

"We'll be prepared, we've got extra boxes already made," he said.

If you are in need of food assistance or would like to help out, click HERE

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