Bridgeport Rescue Mission's food pantry sees 170% demand in February compared to last year

Officials say about 3,600 people came to the pantry in January, up 130% over the same time last year, while about 4,000 people came through in February, up 170%.

News 12 Staff

Mar 1, 2023, 5:27 PM

Updated 452 days ago


Bridgeport Rescue Mission says the number of working people who show up for help has almost tripled over the past year, reflecting what they say is an "alarming statewide trend."
Willie Gonzalez, Jr., of Bridgeport, depends on a walker to help him get around the city. He says while he may have a disability, that never stopped him from working, or helping others.
"You know, some of these people don't have anything to eat at home," said the 56-year-old.
On Wednesday, the food Gonzalez picked up from the Bridgeport Rescue Mission Food Pantry wasn't just for himself, but also for a family he's helping.
But Gonzalez says over the past few months, his hours at the part-time job he works have been cut almost in half.
"It's a big difference from 30 to 17 1/2," he said.
The Bridgeport Rescue Mission says over the past year, it's seen a dramatic increase in the number of working people just Gonzalez, who have been showing up for food. They say about 3,600 people went there in January, up 130% over the same time last year, while about 4,000 people went through in February, up 170%.
"Yeah, it's shocking. I mean, it can't keep up like that," said Craig Adler, who works at Bridgeport Rescue Mission, along with Mike Whiting.
"Every month, it just keeps going up," said Whiting.
They both say the rising cost of rent, energy and food is creating this huge new demand for help among a group they call "the working poor."
"There was actually a lot of money available over the last couple of years through COVID funding from the government, but it's going away now, yet grocery prices are still high and people are still hungry," said Whiting.
The men say the nonprofit will need more help from donors to be able to keep helping people. They say it's all part of "a culture of giving" they work very hard hard to promote.
It's a culture Gonzalez says he's proud to be a part of, and would be going hungry right now without.
"They say when you bless somebody, God blesses you back," said Gonzalez.
Anyone who wishes to donate to Bridgeport Rescue Mission, click here.

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