The numbers cited in this Tampa Tribune piece are startling, and not in a good way.

In his 44 years as a Salvation Army officer (pastor), Major Robert Pfeiffer says he’s never seen need like he’s seeing now. Here are some numbers for you to consider:
> Last week Pfeiffer had to turn away 29 families from the Salvation Army Family Lodge in Manatee County, Florida.
> During the fourth quarter of 2008, 385 people came to the Family Lodge for help. They can only take in 55 at a time.
> Of those 385 people, 210 were children.
> The Manatee County Salvation Army is facing a $100,000 deficit after spending the last several months doing more with less.

A lady named Janette has stayed at the lodge twice, after two separate rounds of layoffs. The college graduate used to be a payroll manager, earning in the neighborhood of $60,000 per year. She just put in an application to work at the local McDonalds. The manager says he’s received applications from people with Master’s Degrees, trying desperately to find jobs doing anything.

Usually, I use this blog space to write about the positive, uplifting stories that are happening in Salvation Army programs. This is not exactly one of those times, but there is a silver lining. Fifty-five families will spend tonight safe and comfortable in The Salvation Army Family Lodge in Manatee County. That’s something to be deeply thankful for. But, please remember to pray for the moms and dads who are still looking for somewhere to go tonight. They’re in every community in America right now.

Thanks for caring.

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