MIAMI (CBS4) – They’re busier than ever before at the Salvation Army, handing out food to a growing number of people in need.

“I have 5 kids at  home, I have two disabled children,” said a mother who doesn’t want to be identified.

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She lost her job 7 months ago and with a house full of kids, her food stamps just aren’t enough.  In fact sometimes, she goes hungry so her kids can eat.

“There wasn’t enough,” she explained. “So I had to feed my kids and I didn’t feed myself. It’s rough when your kids are looking at you they’re saying they’re hungry, ma, ‘what’s there to eat’  and you don’t have it.”

This is Dell Sharron’s second time here.  Diabetes forced her to quit her job.  When she got her today – she found her bag was lighter than last time.  There’s very little food in the food pantry.

“I was shocked! “Sharron said.   “I said, ‘Oh my goodness!’  As you can see, it’s empty!  It’s empty!”

Sally Gress from the Salvation Army tells us the shelves are normally stocked to the ceiling.  But over the last few years they’re serving triple the number of families.  And as the economy got worse, donations began to dry up, leaving the bags for those in need missing a few items.

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“There should be canned meat in there, there should be cereal, rice, beans, fruit, vegetables, peanut butter and crackers,” Gress said.  “Mostly what people got today were canned vegetables, and some rice.”

That’s when people like Nancy Armstrong and her friends at the Hollywood Antiques and Collectables Club get to work ever harder.  They donate every month, trying to keep the shelves stocked.

“It breaks my heart, in this country that anyone should need food or go to bed hungry, is an abomination,” said Armstrong.

To donate nonperishable food items, go to:

Salvation Army Fort Lauderdale, 1445 W. Broward Blvd., will take donations from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

LifeNet 4 Families, at 1 NW 33rd Terrace, will take donations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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If you’d like to help out the Salvation Army and other food pantries can always use:

  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Fruits and Vegetables
  • Peanut Butter
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce

Ted Scouten