As many of us prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts this Thursday, food pantries across the Chippewa Valley say they need your help.
Meanwhile leaders at the Community Table say they're expecting more people than ever before to attend their Thanksgiving meal.
Feed My People, which distributes food to 14 area counties, says we're lucky to live in such a giving community, but three years of tough economic times are taking its toll on an increasing number of people living here.
“I think underemployment and unemployment is really taking its toll on a lot of people,” Emily Moore, Executive Director of Feed My People says.
And that toll, means food pantries and places in town that offer warm meals are working extra hard to meet demand.
“We've just seen an incredible increase in the amount of food distributed. We're distributing about 25,000 pounds of food every day, which is 2.5 times more than just two years ago,” Moore tells us.
The Community Table in Eau Claire is seeing similar numbers, and a lot of new faces.
“We have a growing number of homeless people that we haven't seen in the past, I talk to new people almost every day, new faces,” Tami Syverson, the kitchen operations manager at Community Table says.
In fact, Syverson says the community table has served about 30 percent more people this year and on Thanksgiving, she says they're expecting even more people.
“We're expecting the same guests we see every day, and hopefully in addition they will bring their family members with them,” Syverson says.
Both Feed my People, the Community Table and the Salvation Army say they all need more donations. While they say any donation is welcome, financial gifts can go an especially long way.
“Financial donations are a real benefit, they go really far. With one dollar we are able to supply enough food for five meals,” Moore says.
The Salvation Army says they didn't have quite enough money this year to give out all of its annual Thanksgiving gift cards, but they say it's not too late to donate any traditional items like turkey, stuffing, etc., in time for folks to get a warm traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The Community Table says it will be serving a Thanksgiving feast to about 250 people this Thursday between 11:30 and 1:00 pm.