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      Food pantries experience a lull

      They're down to their last cans. Shelves at food pantries everywhere experience a lull in the fall as they await the holiday food drive season. But at Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly in Hancock, they're experiencing a new all-time low.

      "It's the first time that I can remember in our food pantry that we're this low on food," said Executive Director, Mike Aten.

      Pantry volunteers say empty shelves will be filled by the holiday season with a lot of fundraisers happening at that time. Those donations generally last them the remainder of the year, but this year with more mouths to feed, that may not be the case. The struggling economy has bred more people need; in particular, the elderly, who's social security checks haven't increased in three years.

      "Cost of living's gone up for food, cost of living for fuel, cost of living for gas, for medicine, you name it, and then when you're on a fixed income as they have been," said Aten, "it's been difficult."

      Little Brothers delivers packages of food from their pantry to seniors ages 60 and up, and they say their delivery route has increased by nearly 45 percent in the last three months.

      "When I first started here at the food pantry back in 2001, I only had, like, 18-20 people that we built bags for, and now we're up to 71," said volunteer, Marian Martin.

      The shelves are being depleted faster than food pantries can fill them, and volunteers agree they are going to need more than the usual holiday fundraisers to keep their shelves stocked through next summer and fall.

      If you'd like help, visit the Little Brothers website.