Frigid winter creates high demand, strain for Tri-State food pantries

CINCINNATI -- An extra frigid winter created a strain on the hungry, and the food pantries that help them.

Food pantries' staff around the Tri-State became worried each time the winter weather conditions got bad, and their supply of food shrunk.

Tammy Brasher raises two children, ages 5 and 7. They eat breakfast and lunch for free at school.

"I'm usually not prepared to give them breakfast and lunch, and I just cook them supper and a snack," Brasher said. "But this winter, they've had to eat at home almost every day."

According to Barbara Klie of Middletown Family Service, snow days kept kids at home, and left meals up to their parents. More money had to be spent on food, and parents felt the financial heat.

As WCPO reporter Tony Mirones found, "A typical meal when the kids are home is probably some green beans, some fruit for desert, obviously some mac and cheese with some sort of meat. And for dinner, you probably already had some canned fruit planned with some pasta and spaghetti sauce, maybe with some hamburger mixed in. And they are probably going to wash it down with some milk. The very milk that you're now using for breakfast that you hadn't budgeted for. So in one entire day, you're whole weeks milk supply is gone."

It's a 300 percent increase in food costs.

The demand for help at food pantries has been so high that many shelves ran dry. Klie said Middletown Family Service needs donations, but she also encourages families to help each other.

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