Local News

Needy Population Grows in Triangle

Posted December 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— More and more people in the Triangle and across the state need help, and art of the reason is the prosperity of the region. North Carolina is seen as a desirable place to live, so people 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 a good place to live. But without an education, or technical skills, good jobs 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 of thousands of people who don't get enough to eat.

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

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

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

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

In the future, non-profits fear they will be hard pressed to keep looking out for everyone and the end result may be more poor and homeless. Jill Bullard of the Interfaith Food shuttle says it's not an easy life these people have.

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

Photographer:Gil Hollingsworth