The Community Food Pantry and Emergency Services at St. John Lutheran Church served 3,000 people last year.
"It's meeting a tremendous need out here — no doubt about that," says Lois Kammerlohr, a volunteer who coordinates food distribution. She sees more working poor in crisis.
"You have many working couples with children, but they're working entry-level jobs," Kammerlohr says. Many clients work hard but still fall behind. "They're not getting ahead," she says. "They may catch up for a while, but they fall back again."
The experience leaves many dispirited. "A lot of these people have such a feeling of hopelessness that they're never going to get beyond where they are," Kammerlohr says. "I wish the churches would address that."
What's needed are good jobs with good pay. "The minimum wage doesn't meet many people's needs," she says. "And raising it a dime doesn't turn me on much."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers