Thu, December 25, 2008
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Unemployed strain NY soup kitchens

2008-12-25 09:32:34 GMT2008-12-25 17:32:34 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

One of New York's largest soup kitchens, the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, served about 1,200 unemployed and homeless people a special Christmas dinner on December 24.

But even as the soup kitchen welcomes visitors, they say that resources to feed the increasing number of newly unemployed people are beginning to dwindle.

SCRIPT:

The increasing number of Americans out of work is putting a strain on an often overlooked place.

The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York is worried about how it will cope with the increasing demand in the year ahead even as resources dry up.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REVEREND ELIZABETH MAXWELL, INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HOLY APOSTLES SOUP KITCHEN, SAYING:

"We are averaging about 1250 a day. We've had days when we've served more than 1600 people. And it's very challenging because as the need is rising, as people are coming who have never had to go to a soup kitchen before, people who've lost their jobs sometimes a few months ago.

Maxwell also says the state is scaling back assistance and also some food banks have been low for a few months.

As Christmas carols played on the church's organ on December 24th, one could spot a larger number of well dressed young men and women who have been without a job for a few months. Husband and wife Samuel and Ninoska Wilson have struggled to hold on to jobs. Samuel is originally from Ghana.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SAMUEL WILSON, A JOBLESS NEW YORKER, SAYING:

"Now I no longer have a stable, stable job. I work doing like a cleaning job in Bryant Park for ice-skating rink. But it's on and off, on and off, whenever they need me."

But Wilson says he's more hopeful about finding a job in 2009.

The soup kitchen aims to spread some holiday cheer, even so, Maxwell continues to worry about the fallout from the Wall Street financial collapse.

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