The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes more than 46 million pounds of food each year. They say the demand is increasing and the number of families they are serving has gone up 30 percent.
Even in the best of economic times, the Greater Chicago Food Depository serves 500,000 men, women and children every year.
With rising costs and rising unemployment, more Chicago-area residents are turning to pantries to help make ends meet. At Catholic Charities St. Vincent Center, located in the 700-block of North LaSalle, the pantry is open daily.
"Right now, I need to get the food because I don't have any at home," said Paul Clay, who takes a bus to the pantry to get food.
Clay says he is on disability because of a bad leg. And he needs the food to make it through the month.
James Morris said he is unable to work because he is on disability.
"It makes a great difference as far as helping me through the month as far as food is concerned because with the food stamps and just not quite enough to make it all the way through the month. So this helps supplement and take me all the way through the month," said Morris.
People start getting in line early at the center, looking forward to a warm meal and a bag of food. They serve more than 100 meals daily and pass out over 50 bags of groceries in the evening.
"We are serving 22 percent more to 23 percent more than this time last year. We're servicing about 1,200 in this particular crisis. I'm afraid that we're not going to be able to meet the demand because we don't have the resources," said Christine Dykes-Sorrells, Catholic Charities Emergency Services.
Catholic Charities says they now have clients who have lost their jobs, homes and cars and even former donors..
Catholic Charities says they have never seen such a need for help.