Economic woes increase demand on charities


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The economic crisis puts more Utahns' lives in peril. People are losing jobs and homes, shelters serve twice the number of families this year, and food bank shelves are at all-time lows.

"The need this year is greater than it's ever been before," said Deborah Bayle, president and CEO of the United Way of Salt Lake.

Economic woes increase demand on charities

So, the United Way aims to raise $5 million by Dec. 15 in its Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign. Cash and product donations will go right to the front-line organizations that see the growing need daily.

"At the same time, there's a dramatic decrease in the amount of goods that are being donated, as well as money that's being donated. So, that gap keeps growing," Bayle said.

People who've lived stable lives, who've never had to reach out before, now need help.

A new federal report ranks Utah fourth-worst in the nation when it comes to families running short of food.

Economic woes increase demand on charities

At the Community Action Services and Food Bank in Utah County, the mayors of Orem and Provo urged families to give generously this Thursday, which is Feed America Day. The food bank serves more than 2,300 families each month -- that's up from 1,500 in 2007.

"We're seeing people who are being furloughed from their jobs. We have people in good jobs who are being told that they have three weeks off at Christmas, and if they want to be paid, they have to take vacation. The economic reality is setting in," Provo Mayor Lewis K. Billing said.

United Way is about one-fourth of the way to its goal, and food banks across the state need help. To pitch in, click on the related links to the right of this story.

E-mail: jboal@ksl.com

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Jed Boal

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