The number of Arizona families turning to food banks to help get them through the tough times is rising significantly.
In the past year, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of people asking for "emergency food" from chapters of the Association of Arizona Food Banks.
St. Vincent de Paul, with food banks across central and northern Arizona, has seen a similar increase in people asking for a box of staples to get them to the next paycheck.
"It's never been like this before," said Susan de Queljoe of St. Vincent de Paul, a charity serving the homeless and poor. "We're seeing more people than ever before asking for help in feeding their children."
Relief organizations say their supplies have remained steady but demand is increasing in a tight economy with rising food and fuel costs.
To stretch their resources, they may put a little bit less in each emergency food box.
Or they may limit the number of boxes a family can receive in a period of time.
At St. Vincent de Paul, some of the money put aside to help families pay utilities or the rent instead is going to buy more food.
Coping with the economic pressures has been difficult for families on solid financial ground. But for people living close to the edge, it has been devastating.
"I've never asked for help before," said Christian Logothetis, 26. "It was hard for me. I felt like I wasn't a good provider for my family. But I have a daughter, and she comes first."
Logothetis said he was working for Starbucks as many as 40 hours a week and getting by just fine. Then his hours started decreasing.
Ultimately, he quit working because it cost him more to have somebody watch his 3-year-old daughter.
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