Food pantries are seeing an increase in need, and not just from those who traditionally need help. According to The New York Times, “the next level of people” is starting to line up for help. Who is the “next level?”

According to Rosemary Gilmartin, who runs the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morristown, N.J., the next level includes a rapidly expanding roster of child-care workers, nurse’s aides, real estate agents and secretaries facing a financial crisis for the first time.

In Greenwich, Conn., pantry workers are seeing a “tremendous” increase in demand for food since December, with out-of-work landscapers and housekeepers as well as real estate professionals who have not made a sale in months filling the line.

And in Marin County, Calif., known for its million dollar houses, they are seeing people who work at banks, for software firms, for marketing firms, and they’re all losing their jobs. 

In other words, the “next level” could be your friends and neighbors. The next level could even be you.

I have a question for you. If you found yourself at that level of need, would you know where to turn?

One place to turn to is Feeding America (formerly known as America’s Second Harvest). You can locate a local Feeding America food bank by inputting your ZIP code on their site.

Another option is to phone a local house of faith and ask if they have a food pantry. If they don’t, they most likely will be able to point you to a place that does.

There are government sponsored programs that can help, too, but when you’re in immediate need, food pantries have immediate supplies.

One last thing, if you’re in the position to be able to donate to a local food pantry, please consider doing so. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Food pantries cater to 'next level'
Food pantries are beginning to see nontraditional people asking for assistance.