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Triangle Assistance Groups See Growing Need Among Middle Class

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us. The lagging economy will have a big effect on the Triangle this season, and it is the middle class that is expected to really feel the pinch this year.

Those who are in lower socioeconomic classes qualify for programs which the middle class do not.

The good news is that there is help available. The key is not to wait until it is too late.

"I couldn't afford to pay child care and rent at the same time because I was not making that much money," said Melissa Graves, a mother of two who moved her family to the Raleigh Rescue Mission after losing her job.

Graves said that were it not for the shelter, she and her daughters would be out on the street.

As companies continue to lay off employees, many people are forced to seek outside help from places like the Raleigh Rescue Mission. This year, many agencies said that the people who used to donate to them have become their clients.

"We have seen people that have been laid off from Nortel up to even a year ago that are now, once their severance pay is gone, once their unemployment is coming to an end, that still haven't found a job. They're having to seek the need of us to pay for their mortgage or past due light bill," said Betty Stanberry of Christian Community In Action.

Several local groups, like Christian Community in Action will help pay utility bills, provide groceries, and even clothing. The services provided to each family are based on need, not income.

The Cary organization uses money raised at its thrift store to aid local families.Stanberry said that this year, donations are down and the demand for services are up.

For example, the organization used to give out groceries two to three times per week. Now, it does so up to 15 times per week.

Workers there said that these days, every penny counts.


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