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Local food bank struggles to keep up with demand

Every month, Jim Hettinger travels 50 miles from his small church in Ross county to the Mid Ohio Food Bank on W. Mound St. in Columbus to load his conversion van and a small trailer with potatoes, apples, snacks, or other emergency food.

Hettinger says the food will be given to families and people out of work. Hettinger is an elder at the rural Triumphant Church. He says in recent months, more individuals and families are showing up at his pantry.

"We've got a greater demand because we draw out of Chillicothe quite a bit," Hettinger says. "I think the next food bank is down in Waverly or Piketon."

All through the 20 counties served by the Columbus food bank, more people are using food pantries. Director Matt Habash says the food bank served more than 193,000 people last year, and more people are making choices between groceries and other needs.

"44 percent had to chose between food and paying their utility bills, 29 percent had to chose between food and rent, and 25 percent have chosen between food and medical care," Habash says.

Habash says the average income of those served by the food bank is $720 a month.