Food Bank Need Continues to Rise - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Food Bank Need Continues to Rise

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Tina Hausman brought along her daughter Brittney to shop at a food bank in Pennsylvania.

"I wasn't sure what to expect 'cause it's a new experience for me."

She was pleasantly surprised to find fresh produce.

"It's really important. I know my kids have been very happy with what I've brought home."

When an accident took her husband out of the workforce the Hausmans joined the 10% of American families struggling to put food on the table.

Larry Welsch runs the Chester County Food Bank and says demand is higher than ever. And the recent cut in food stamp benefits is making it worse.

"Who are the new families coming into the food banks?"

"It's the working poor. It's folks who have a job that we've never seen before." 

In a survey of 25 cities, 21 reported that demand for food assistance is up. Welsch wants to be sure that what he offers his 40,000 needy families is as healthy as possible. Which is why the food bank raises its own produce in a farming operation that continues to expand.

For the first time ever, the food bank is growing food in the winter. Even in snowy conditions they can raise kale, spinach, and collard greens under protective fabric. 

Bill Shick runs the food bank's farm.

"We've grown more than 5,000 pounds of collard this fall and there's still a lot in the field."

"5,000 pounds?"

"The demand is endless."

About 20% of the nation's food banks are now farming produce helping to bring families a little extra green in time for the holidays.

We reached out to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. They tell us that a big 49% of what they distributed to the needy here last year was fresh produce.

Most of it comes from the nearby Walmart distribution center, grocery stores and local farmers.

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