Rising food prices strain local pantries, soup kitchens

Sunday, April 20, 2014
By Paul Martin

Alex Taylor
April 19, 2014

WEST NYACK – Making ends meet has never been easy for Valerie Van Houten, but with food prices climbing, she’s come to rely more on People to People, Rockland County’s largest food pantry.

“I have three teenagers,” the 49-year-old single mother explained before walking out of the pantry pushing a month’s worth of groceries in a handcart. “What I get on food stamps doesn’t last me a week. Coming to the pantries is a big plus.”

Van Houten hit a rough patch about three years ago after extracting herself from a bad situation with her ex. She wound up living in the Rockland Family Shelter. She and her three kids, ages 14 through 19, now live in Nyack.

“I go and get chopped meat and make two pans of ziti and freeze one so we get through the week,” said Van Houten, a former elderly care worker who is unemployed. “You gotta make everything last these days.”

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