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Demand for Food Assistance Skyrockets in Taney County

BRANSON, Mo. -- Demand for food assistance in Taney County is skyrocketing and food pantries are trying to keep up.
BRANSON, Mo. -- Demand for food assistance in Taney County is skyrocketing and food pantries are trying to keep up.

This Christian Action Ministries food pantry volunteer is busy filling grocery bags for Branson families in need.

A record amount of food left the warehouse in 2013, 625,000 pounds of green beans, turkey, and other essentials.

Some staple items that go in the bags with the families include peanut butter and cereal.

In a day they could give away 60 to 80 jars of peanut butter.

Betty Craig has volunteered here at CAM's Branson food pantry for four years.

"We see a lot of hardship," she said.

She's noticed not only more families coming through the doors, but also new faces.

"When you get say 70 families in one day that's a lot. It's hard to see some of them struggling," she said.

The amount of food requested rose 32 percent over 2012 numbers.

And that year was already record setting, having an increase of 52 percent over 2011 demand.

"It's just escalating each year," Executive Director Pat Davis said.

Davis cites increase cost of living and reductions in the food stamp program as possible causes.

"Because of that and the lack of work right now they are having really a difficult time," she said.

But Davis is worried this is not just a short term issue.

"According to the last two or three years, we are looking at certainly an increase in the need," she said.

Davis hopes donations can keep up with demand to make sure these shelves are always stocked for those who rely on them.

The folks at Christian Action Ministries want to thank members of the community who have donated the food and funds for those in need.

CAM is also a partner of Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield.
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