Economy hurting non-profit groups - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Economy hurting non-profit groups

Madison (WKOW) -- With 401(k) accounts evaporating, homes in foreclosure, and credit lines frozen, times are tough for Americans.

But for people in Wisconsin who rely on the generosity of neighbors for basic needs, it's even worse.

The poor economy could mean people are going to bed hungry, as non-profit organizations struggle to keep up with demand.

In the Middleton Outreach Ministry (M.O.M.) food pantry, sits an entire wall of empty cardboard boxes, normally brimming with canned goods.

"Last year we got 14,000 pounds of food from the U.S. Postal Carriers food drive," said M.O.M. Supervisor Carole Klopp. "This year, we got only 9,000 pounds."

Klopp blames the economy for the empty shelf space.

"We're seeing at this particular time a rise in the cost of food, and a rise in the number of people using our pantry," she said.

A 20 percent increase in just one year, meaning there's even less to go around.

"Clearly there's a problem here, and we're trying our best to meet that need, but it's a struggle," said Klopp.

Klopp says the economic climate is so unprecedented, clients are coming back to re-donate items they've taken.

"On Friday, I had a client here with three bags of clothes that she'd gotten from us. Now, her children had outgrown them, so she was bringing them back."

She says even those most in need are recognizing the need to share what little they have with everyone in the community.

"It's isn't any one group of people, it isn't any one type of person," Klopp said. "It it could be your neighbor."

The food pantry usually sees a decrease in the number of people who use its services in the fall. That hasn't happened this year. More and more people are relying on it for basic needs.

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