Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SOCIAL SERVICES; Calling All Hands

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SOCIAL SERVICES; Calling All Hands

Article excerpt

Donations down, demands up.

The combo is slamming community organizations trying to help people in need during this holiday season. Mayor John Peyton is urging city residents to help where they can.

It can make a difference.

Some community groups that provide food and/or shelter are reporting a food demand between 30 percent and 40 percent beyond this time a year ago, the mayor said. Meanwhile, donations are down and reserves of cash and supplies are decreasing as well.

Jacksonville's Second Harvest Food Bank distributes food to more than 500 nonprofit organizations in an 18-county area, most of it going to shelters and groups in Jacksonville. But donations dropped 40 percent from July through September. Demand for food is up by 32 percent throughout this year.

The good news is the food bank has purchasing contracts that allow it to buy $53 worth of food for every $1 donated.

Peyton said nonprofits are seeing a demographic shift in the people who are seeking help. As families lose jobs and face more financial pressures, such as potential foreclosures, more are making choices between paying a rent or mortgage and buying food.

That means nonprofits providing meals for the needy are seeing people who would have been contributing before rather than seeking help.

In an example of record-breaking need, the I. …

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