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Middle Class are the 'New Faces of Hunger'

Reporter: Melinda Zosh

Lynchburg, VA - More than 50 million Americans go to sleep hungry every night.

There are so many families middle class one pay check away from the food bank, and they are right in our own backyard.

"I feel that 50% of the people receiving food from this food pantry are middle class people," said Louise Martin, coordinator for Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

These are people who once had their own homes and worked full time jobs.

"I don't drink, I don't do drugs or nothing' I'm just trying to get ahead in life, and it's hard," said Mark Rowley, a regular at the Daily Bread.

Now those people find themselves standing in line at soup kitchens like the Daily Bread in Lynchburg.

"Times is just really hard," Daily Bread regular Monique Regan said.

Workers here have seen a steady increase of middle class people coming in since June 2010.

"Well basically money's been really tight with me, and it's like crazy. I'm trying to raise a family," said Casey Crump, a Daily Bread regular.

But their small income from work can barely pay the bills, let alone food.

"That's why I think a lot of middle class is coming here, because there's just not enough money going around," Regan said.

There is help from places like Interfaith Outreach which assists people who can't pay for food or their heating bills.

"People who are economically deprived for whatever reason are the ones who are coming back to us," said Loretta Robinson, the coordinator/emergency assistance at Interfaith Outreach.

The Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry is an effort of nine different area churches to assist those hardest hit by the slow economy.

People at the food pantry have distributed almost 1,300 bags to families this year alone.

"The family need now goes to family size 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 8 or more. There are a lot of needy families out there. It's all sectors, not just the very poor," Martin said.

If you'd like to donate food to help out these families at the Lynchburg Daily Bread, you can stop by the location at 721 Clay St. in Lynchburg, call them at 434.845.5703 or e-mail at thedailybread@aol.com

You can also go to the Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry's website.

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