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Many families and businesses have had to amend their budgets in recent months due the rising cost of living. Local food pantries and soup kitchens are feeling twice the pain: they not only have to deal with dwindling donations and rising operating costs, but are continually seeing more hungry people walk through their doors.
KSMU's Jennifer Moore visited a local food pantry to see how it's coping with the changing economic times.
Rorie Orgeron, CEO of The Kitchen, says his food pantry is seeing new faces every day.
He's also noticed that the economic level of individuals coming in to the pantry, and to the Missouri Hotel homeless shelter, keeps inching closer and closer to the middle class.
One of those new faces standing in line to get food on this particular day is Springfield resident Debbie Randall.
She receives a set income from Social Security and also has a part-time job, but is still having trouble putting food on the table for her daughter and grandchild.
She says she's begun to stretch a box of hamburger helper and turn it into two or three meals. She tells me they eat a lot of rice, because it's filling, although not necessarily her ideal choice, since she has diabetes and is supposed to watch her starches and sugar.
Other local food pantries, such as the Salvation Army in Springfield, have said their shelves are almost bare as well. A spokesperson for the Salvation Army says their local Springfield food pantry has for the first time had to go out and buy groceries so they don't have to turn hungry families away.
Rorie Orgeron of The Kitchen says even though many middle class Americans are themselves having a hard time, it's largely up to them to keep food banks and pantries functioning. He's making an appeal for donations.
The Kitchen's Food Pantry serves over 18,000 households in the greater community per year.
For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore