Need for help up in Region 8

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - We have all experienced large and small ways the economy is affecting our lives.  Now a group that strives to provide help to those in need, needs help itself!  Anytime someone is down on their luck or in need of a dry place to stay and a warm meal the Salvation Army is there.

The need for food, clothing and shelter is always there, but now the need for other kinds of help is up too.

"It's not just a certain number of people affected.  Everybody's affected," said Stacy Koster.

Stacy Koster with the Salvation Army said they are seeing more and more come through the doors in need of help.

"People with large number of families that have been maybe laid off from their jobs are coming in to us trying to find some kind of relief," said Koster.

Their shelves of food are not as full as they need to be.  Their soup kitchen is open every evening around 5 o'clock and more people are coming in off the streets in search of a warm meal.

"We would see four to five people a night including the shelter people but now that has grown to be about 20 people average every night," said Koster.

If they run low on food for the soup kitchen they have to pull food from the pantry, which is taking away from what they have to give out.

When people make donations they use that money where it's needed.  A big need they're seeing now is requests from people who need help paying bills like rent and utilities.  Money specifically for that help is gone, but the requests are still coming in.

The Salvation Army is the only shelter in town that serves both men and women.  Now they are seeing something they haven't seen before:  entire families looking for a place to stay.

"The families coming in with kids, they would be ok because their husband is able to provide because of his job.  Now you're seeing families coming in," said Koster.

Koster said normally half the beds on the men's side would be full and the women's side would be completely empty but now that's not the case.  All of the 12 beds on the men's side are full and one bed on the women's side is taken too.

"It seems to be just a little bit worse that we expected.  Only because we thought with the economy being the way it is that more people would donate," said Koster.

For many, asking for this help is a new experience.  But it's one they do appreciate very much.

If you want to help out, donations are always needed.  But there are other ways you can help.  Any non-perishable canned good is accepted at the Salvation Army.  They also are in need of volunteers to help out.

To volunteer you can call the Salvation Army at 870-932-3785 or visit their office in downtown Jonesboro at 800 Cate Avenue.

©2009 KAIT

 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.