When Sam Johnson helps people fill grocery carts at the food pantry he manages now, he notices that the items have been picked over more than usual.
“Normally we have meat. Chicken, we might have fish. But we ran out of meat that you can cook,” Johnson said.
Instead, a fold-out table offers a selection of canned chicken, SPAM and tuna in the basement on the grounds of the St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Church, in north St. Louis.
In the past few years that Johnson has managed the pantry as a volunteer, he’s seen demand rise during the holidays and again in the summer. Now, he’s starting to see another group of newcomers: visitors who recently lost their public assistance benefits in the state’s latest round of cuts.