CRANSTON RI- Half empty shelves at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, not ideal since the number of people unable to feed their families healthy meals this year has increased.
RI Community Food Bank CEO, Andrew Schiff said, “We need a real thriving economic recovery to help the people that we're serving. But, in the meantime we have to make sure that we're feeding people in need."
Many have been jobless for years including senior citizens whose supplemental income is just not enough, or, women like Sohkon Luong. She and her husband live off one income and often sacrifice to feed their three children.
"If we don't have the right funds we just hold off on the rent and have it be late sometimes," said Luong.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse praised the local food pantries denouncing the idea that eliminating these services would force those in need to find their own way to survive.
"Well, I think Sohkon's story is a good rebuttal to that point," said Whitehouse.
There are still thousands of Rhode Islanders who go hungry each day. About 800 are homeless.
"So, it's not a surprise. Even though we've seen less people coming into the shelter system last year and we think this year, more and more people are more at risk and staying longer periods of time," said RI Coalition for the Homeless executive director, Jim Ryczek.
The state's annual food bank grant was cut after the recession, leaving less food for needy families.
Although the food bank has less food and a higher demand, they're confident everyone will get something this year.