‘Staple’ foods missing from food bank shelves

As the unemployment rate continues to soar, so do the number of new customers at local food banks. The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest is reporting a big surge in new clients.

Second Harvest says some of its food banks are seeing at least 200 new clients a month. At that rate 2,400 new families will visit area Second Harvest food banks this year alone. More people means Second Harvest needs more food on its shelves.

Shasta Fasolo and her family are just one of the many Second Harvest serves. Shasta was laid off last spring and now uses food stamps to get by.

“We eat a lot of rice and vegetables we put into stews,” said Shasta.

When Shasta first lost her job, she turned to Second Harvest for help.

“They helped because it was where you’re juggling bills and ‘what can I pay?’ and ‘if I pay this I’m not going to have enough money to pay this,’ ” Shasta said. “So it was nice to go there and be able to take that stress away and not having to worry about some of the groceries for right then.”

Shasta and her children, 9-year-old Caleb and 5-year-old Cordilia, are just one of hundreds of new families Second Harvest is making sure don’t go hungry.

“The new clients seeking help are people that have been laid off, down sized in their job, or lack of hours, so more of those are coming and seeking help rather than the clients that have been coming in before,” said Rod Wieber, director of donor and community relations for Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest.

As the demand for food rises so does the need for donations. Wieber says the food bank is critically low on non-perishables, such as soups, stews, and canned vegetables.

“We just need more of those shelf staple items, things people can pull out of their cupboard and feed to their family,” said Wieber.

On Wednesday, KXLY 920 and Spokane’s River teamed with Second Harvest to collect donations. With just one dollar, the food bank can buy six pounds of food, the equivalent of four meals. One of which may go to the Fasolo’s.

“You never know if you’re going to need it, but it’s always good to know it’s there if you do need it,” said Shasta.

If you’d like to help Second Harvest, you can find out how by visiting their web site at www.2-harvest.org.