(Reno, NV--KRNV) The line in front of St. Vincent's Food Pantry is long and officials say this is now the new "normal." The Food Pantry is the largest in Nevada and is expected to break a record this year serving more working families and those in need than ever before.
Scott CoolCooksley is the Director of the Food Pantry and says the cuts to the SNAP program, formerly known as Food Stamps, are partly to blame. He said, "It definitely has been a harder month than most with the SNAP cuts we're seeing an increase of new families right now by three times the amount than we normally would."
But many families we spoke with who were waiting in line blame the weak economy that either is not creating enough jobs or jobs that will pay all of the bills.
Jessie Matney is a mother of three. She has been out of work and is still looking. She said, "Times are kind of tough right now and we're on a tight budget. Every little bit helps.
Tina Lilly, a mother of two is also unemployed and is looking. She said her husband's full time salary isn't enough to get them through the month. She sais, "We get some canned goods, pasta or rice. Sometime they give meat, sometimes they don't. It depends on what they have donated. Right now we're right in between pay days right now so that's pretty difficult. This helps us get through.
Scott Cooksley said their numbers are through the roof, "We're seeing 15-to-16 thousand individuals a month whereas the previous month we saw about 13-thousand and we believe the numbers will continue to grow." Cooksley said the Food Pantry expects to provide food to as many as 21-thousand in December. He said, "These are everyday families. They are just trying to get by and are working part time, full time and some may have two jobs."