In tough economic times, food pantries nationwide say they're seeing the greatest demand in years.
They say much of it is coming from first-time visitors. Experts say the reasons are layoffs and reduced wages for millions of Americans. The national unemployment rate is about 10.2 percent.
In Oregon, the rate is higher at 11.3 percent.
Federal agencies and national organizations like the Chicago-based Feeding America have just started tracking first timers.
But anecdotal evidence and statistics from individual pantries finds more and more new faces among the approximately 25 million Americans who rely on food pantries each year.
Pantry workers say many first-timers are confused about what to do. Some people are showing up in suits, carrying brief cases. First-timers admit the experience is fraught with shame and embarrassment.