Local retail and business reports indicate that the economic difficulties that have affected every community in the United States are easing, but that recovery is not reaching everyone at the same time. The surge in requests for assistance at the Good Samaritan Ministries food pantry is evidence of that.

A story in Monday’s Bulletin reported that need from Brown County families and individuals is up 29 percent from last year. November and December are typically the pantry’s busiest months, but the numbers from November 2008 were almost matched in less than three weeks this month.

Perhaps most telling is the information that the food pantry is seeing many new applicants, including a number who have jobs but who are struggling to make ends meet. Asking for this type of assistance does not come easy for individuals many describe as “the working poor.”

Food, and nutritious food, is essential if adults are going to be able to hold a job and if children are going to be able to thrive physically and succeed academically. With the start of schools and the availability of free-and reduced-price breakfasts and lunches for eligible students, some of the pressure to put food on the table seven days a week may be relieved, for now. But the holidays are closer than we may think, and the ability of charitiable food pantries to supply everyone’s need has already been stretched.

For those more fortunate, here is an urgent need you can help meet.

Brownwood Bulletin