Homelessness and hunger on the rise in Toledo area - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Homelessness and hunger on the rise in Toledo area

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Today is world Homeless Day, a reminder of the growing local need for food and shelter, in the Toledo area.

Homelessness in Lucas County has increased the most of anywhere in the state over the last three years and that trend continued in September

"I never thought I'd see myself in this situation, but you never know. You never know what's going to happen," said Ed Sallee, a guest at the Cherry Street Mission.

Salee fell on hard times when he lost his job in Sandusky about a month ago. While he looks for a new one position, he is relying on Cherry Street Mission Ministries for three meals a day  and a place to sleep.

Ed is not alone. The Cherry Street Mission is seeing record growth in the number of people in need. In September, 256 people sought shelter which is up nearly 20 percent from 2010.

The Cherry Street Mission served an average of more than 800 meals per day - up 25 percent from last year.

"To get those double digit increases in September is a first for an organization that's more than six decades old. it's a powerful statement," said Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Cherry Street Missions.

Food pantries are also stretched thin in Wood County as the unemployed and underemployed there are forced to spend less on food just to keep utilities turned on.

"When you see increased homeless numbers begin going on, it's indicative of  not only a downturn in the economy, but it's also indicative of an economy not recovering as well as we'd hoped," said Rogers.

And as more people like Salee need help, the strain on assistance organizations also grows.

Go to cherrystreetmission.org to learn how you can help.

Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.

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