Food supplies are dwindling at the Cooperative Christian Ministry's warehouse, as more people than ever seek help at the seven pantries the organization supplies in Cabarrus and Rowan counties.
At the main pantry in Concord, about 2,800 families came for food in the first six months of this year, compared with about 2,200 in the same period last year, said Mike Wojciechowski, the ministry's crisis assistance director.
"We're seeing folks who, for the first time in their lives, are asking for assistance," he said.
Often that's because a family's top wage-earner lost his or her job as a company trimmed payroll, he said.
Overall, the ministry saw an 11.5percent increase in the number of households it served in the first seven months of 2010 and a 15percent rise in the number of people who received food from its pantries.
In fiscal 2009-10, the ministry provided nearly 900,000 pounds of food to about 11,400 households.
The ministry needs donated breakfast items, canned fruits and vegetables, soup, pasta, ramen noodles, paper towels and toilet tissue.
Donations are accepted 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays at the ministry's Crisis Assistance Center, 246 Country Club Drive N.E., Concord, and at its satellite pantries.
Donations can also be taken to the Night Shelter, 216 Patterson Ave., Concord, after 7 p.m. any day of the week.
Monetary donations are also welcome. Through Charlotte-based Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, Cooperative Christian Ministry can buy food much more inexpensively than from retail grocery stores, Wojciechowski said.
Second Harvest provides food to about 600 agencies in 19 counties.