Soup kitchens like My Brother's Table struggling with higher demand for services

LAWRENCE, Mass. ( -- The struggle is real for thousands on the North Shore and places like soup kitchen, My Brother's Table, is seeing demand for their services like never before.

Chef Thomas Loo and a totally volunteer crew are on a mission, feeding hundreds every night, with limited resources.

"Tonight, we're gonna serve 200-250. No doubt. And the last time I was here, we were probably in the 280s," Loo said.

My Brother's Table is just one among the dozens of North Shore food pantries and soup kitchens now in a struggle to meet increased need.

"Year over year we're probably 10 or 11 percent higher in terms of the number of meals we've served this year over say last year. So the need definitely is there," Loo said.

Last year, My Brother's Kitchen served 126,000 meals. They are one of the few soup kitchens operating everyday, and they expect to serve over 140,000 meals this year as residents struggle with record high unemployment.

While the national rate has dropped to just under 6 percent for October, unemployment rates in Lynn are well over 7 percent.

Joseph Leary knows the struggle all too well.

"Times are a little hard right now. We're engaged to be married. We have a 14 month old son. And work has been on and off," he said.

The hot meals he gets here for himself and his family are a huge help while he tries to find steady work as a landscaper and go back to school.

"It helps out," he said. "Because you have rent to pay. You have bills you have to pay. Stuff like that and sometimes when you only work three days a week it gets really hard."

That's why the plea for donations is more important than ever before.

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