In Need of Nourishment

People line up early at the Oak City Assembly of God food pantry to stock up on nutritious staples while they last.

Rena Prather collects a bag of baked goods and other groceries to help her stretch her budget and feed her grandson.

Rena says, "I receive food stamps, I’m on a fixed income, so the food is a good help, you know, I can take the money to pay my bills with."

But all around the state, food banks are running short of canned goods and other non-perishable items. The blame goes to the series of hurricanes plaguing the state. Along with their regular clients, food pantries are now flooded with families affected by the storms.

Andy Nash with Lutheran Social Services says they’re seeing people who’ve lost jobs or suffered damage to their homes, and money is tight.

Andy says, "What they do have to repair their homes, to at least get it livable again, to provide food for their children if they can get to that, these folks are hard-pressed."

But the food banks themselves are strapped for cash now too. Florida lawmakers only gave them half of the $600,000 requested this year to transport food around the state, and that was for an average year.

Dobson says, "We got, what, three hurricanes now, perhaps four? As you can imagine, our transportation costs and needs are certainly going to increase, and we’re going to need to find out how we’re going to make it."

To make matters worse, pantries also suffered damage and power outages in some of Florida’s hardest-hit communities. Those who run the food banks are praying state lawmakers will find additional money in a possible special session this December so no one goes hungry.