As a widow on fixed income, Doris Newcomer relies on food assistance.

"The economy is so bad nowadays and (there's) not a lot of money to go around," said Newcomer. "There isn't a whole lot of money to work with, and I get food stamps."
 
Newcomer isn't alone.
 
She's one of nearly 200 Crawford County families benefiting from the Second Harvest Food Bank's Produce Express program.
 
The food bank hosts the program once a month in Meadville, providing residents with 50 pounds of food.
 
With ongoing inflation, the demand has doubled since the food bank brought the program to Meadville in May.
 
"The numbers were high from the beginning," said Second Harvest Food Bank director of network relations Gerry Weiss. "They really started to increase over the last four or five months, so much so, that we outgrew our original site and we had to move here, at the Meadville Area Recreational Center."
 
According to Weiss, each family is receiving nearly $150.00 in free food which will help residents who are struggling.
 
"Think about what they can put $150 dollars towards," said Weiss. "Medication, rent, utility bills, babysitting, daycare, stuff that we can help them out in really the greatest time of need they may ever see."
 
Newcomer agrees.
 
"I have to pay rent," said Newcomer. "Thankfully, I don't have to pay utilities, but there's still other obligations you need and necessities that different things don't cover."
 
The next Produce Express distribution will take place on January 3, 2023, at the Meadville Area Recreational Center.
 
This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.