Economy taking toll on Mid-South charities

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The recent economic crisis has local charities struggling. Fewer people are making donations as everything from gasoline to groceries costs charities more.

At the Mid-South Food Bank, times have never been tougher.

"Where the Food Bank is struggling, and it's the worst since I've been here, is we don't have enough food," Susan Sanford said.

After 18 years on the job, Sanford said agencies served by the Food Bank are struggling to help their existing clients. What is worse, a struggling economy and uncertainty on Wall Street are forcing more families to look for emergency food help.

"We've been talking to our agencies and so many of them are saying we are seeing so many new faces," Sanford said.

Sanford blames the rising number of needy families on the rising cost of food and fuel.

"Some of our past financial contributors are now standing in line to get emergency food," Sanford said.

But even some of the Food Bank's high dollar donors are holding back on donations, cautiously watching their budgets until they know for sure what fiscal solution will come out of Washington.

Despite it all, Sanford urges Mid-Southerners to continue to contribute.

"We want people to acknowledge that there is hunger and malnutrition in this very community and to give to the food bank what they can afford," Sanford said.

Sanford says the Food Bank's operating budget is in good shape, but it costs them money to operate, and they have already spent their fuel budget for the year.

Click here to e-mail Anna Marie Hartman.