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Pandemic related poverty continues to increase in the U.S

In RIFA’S food bank, there are thousands of canned goods and snacks for families in need. This year due to COVID-19, they saw a significant increase in patrons, and as the pandemic continues, they expect to feed even more families going into next year.

For some residents in madison county, the economic symptoms of the pandemic are very new.

“You know many people are coming to RIFA asking for help for the first time ever,” said Gracie Sloan, the Marketing and Events Coordinator at RIFA.

According to Sloan, at RIFA, some families are in what she describes as a difficult situation.

“You know, they’ve been put in a position of making difficult choices. They’ve lost their job, how they pay their bills, and how they put food on the table,’’ said Sloan.

And it is not over yet as the poverty rates continue to increase. Reports show since June, nearly 8 million more Americans are struggling financially.

“We have seen the repercussions of this pandemic, and we will continue to see the repercussions of it,” said Sloan.

To help fight poverty and hunger over the holidays, RIFA is running their Hunger-Free holiday event. This is in partnership with the United way and the salvation army. With Thanksgiving and Christmas combined, the nonprofit predicts to distribute over 1000 meals.

“Today, we will be delivering our Christmas meals to the salvation army because every member apart of our Angel Tree program receives a meal as well,” said Sloan.

Sloan says even amid challenging times, people in the Jackson community are willing to donate items to help feed families during the holiday season.

“We’re grateful for the community just continuing to support us and providing meals to over a thousand families throughout Jackson,” said Sloan.

A study done by the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame shows congress’s new stimulus bill is not enough to fight poverty rates.

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