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Needy Population Grows in Triangle

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Soup kitchens in the Triangle are among groups serving the needy. All report more people this year.
RALEIGH — More and more people in the Triangle andacross the state need help, and art of the reason is the prosperity ofthe region. North Carolina is seen as a desirable place to live, sopeople move here, but they often find they just can't make it.

With its good weather, good schools, low crime and unemployment rates, and good environment, it has become attractive to people looking for agood place to live. But without an education, or technical skills, goodjobs are hard to come by, even here. As a result, many people who move here expect to succeed, but instead find they need help just to eat.

Agencies which help the poor say the need is becoming overwhelming.Soup kitchen coordinator Jane Guerreri says there are hundreds ofthousands of people who don't get enough to eat.

Hundreds of those people go to the Shepard's Table soupkitchen in Raleigh. Guerreri says the kitchen used to serve 150 people ona big day, but now there are even more.

Agencies all over the Triangle say the number of people they serveis increasing. Don Zoller runs the Raleigh Rescue Mission. He says peoplethink their financial dreams will come true in the Triangle.

Elizabeth Preslin came here from New York for a better life, but evenwith a job, she says she finds it hard to survive.

With welfare reform many people have no income at all. That meansplaces such as the soup kitchen fill a critical need. Soup kitchen clientTony Hammands says he doesn't know what he would have done without suchplaces.

In the future, non-profits fear they will be hard pressed tokeep looking out for everyone and the end result may be morepoor and homeless. Jill Bullard of the Interfaith Food shuttle says it'snot an easy life these people have.

Agencies that help the poor say they are just now starting tosee a big effect from welfare reform. People are being cut off from publicassistance, but they can't find jobs.Helping agencies say they are doing their best to fill in the gaps.

Photographer:GilHollingsworth

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