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Demand for holiday meals increases in CNY

More Central New York families are asking for help to get a hot meal this Thanksgiving. That has Catholic Charities and the Rescue Mission looking ahead to how they’ll help those in need for Christmas, when the demand is expected to be even greater.
Central New York (WSYR-TV) -- More Central New York families are asking for help to get a hot meal this Thanksgiving.

That has Catholic Charities and the Rescue Mission looking ahead to how they’ll help those in need for Christmas, when the demand is expected to be even greater.

Catholic Charities in Oswego County has seen an increase in the number of people coming to their food pantry.

“There are so many closings, so many plants closing…it’s a very depressed area,” explained Helen Hoefer with Oswego Catholic Charities.

This may be their most challenging Christmas yet. Each Christmas, they put together enough food to make sure families can have a special meal. Normally, they get about 200 requests, but this year, they’re already at more than 300 and there’s still two weeks to go for applications.

“We’re seeing a lot of working class people that really need help with gas being what it is, food being what it is,” said Hoefer.

It’s a similar story at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse where more people are coming in. In fact, they’re serving 100 meals more per day than this time last year, so they’re expecting a pretty big crowd this Christmas.

“Last year we set a record at Christmas and served over 2,000 meals to those in need, hungry and wanting to have a special Christmas meal, so we’re going to have to be prepared to serve well over that based on the trend right now,” said Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton.

It's a trend that’s fueled by cold weather and higher utility bills and those wanting to make sure others have a special holiday.

“They’ve got people they love and they want to give gifts, so maybe they’ve taken money that they would otherwise use for food and out it into a gift for someone…maybe make sure their child has a toy they like,” Thornton continued.

Because of the increased need, both Catholic Charities and the Rescue Mission are asking for your help.

If you can help call Catholic Charities, Oswego County at 598-3980. They're accepting monetary and food donations and gift cards to grocery stores.

The Rescue Mission is also accepting monetary, food and toys and other items that can be used as Christmas presents. Call them at 701-3898 or drop off donations at 155 Gifford Street.

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