The St. Jude Community Center's free lunch for those in need was as crowded as a restaurant at lunchtime today, and the organizers say it is always this way.
"In January we served over seven thousand meals," said Glenn Turner. "Yeah, 7000 meals in January, and there were people that we still turned away, because we run out of food on a daily basis."
We saw that happen last August, when they ran out of food, and could only serve gravy on bread to people in need. It was a shocking moment, but the community responded.
"The donations poured in," said Turner. "We had high schools, we had unknown individuals who wanted to remain anonymous."
But they're now serving 200-people in the average day.
"The numbers have increased I want to say, Bill, twenty five to thirty percent since we did this last time," said Turner. "So you still urgently need donations? Definitely."
Chef Derrick Sayles: "I did three things today, that was gumbo, red beans, and lima beans to keep the food flowing to feed the homeless and the kids who come through the building." And not only has St. Jude been having problems, but their main supplier, Second Harvest, had to declare an emergency this fall.
With a fifty percent cut in government shipments, the Second Harvest warehouse emptied, dropping from two million pounds of food to 800-thousand. But there was a huge community response over the holidays.
"Bill, we're incredibly relieved," said Second Harvest Executive Director Natalie Jayroe. "I can't say thank you ernough to this entire community. They increased what they were bringing into us through food drives by twenty to twenty five percent, and that is the equivalent of another 100,000 meals for people in need."
But now, demand is up at least twenty percent, so Second Harvest is hopng you won't forget them this year.