Pittsfield's many needy testify to job shortage

To the editor:

This is in response to an article about the new Walmart Supercenter proposed for the Stanley Industrial Park and the jobs it is projected to create.

I work for the First United Methodist Church as an outreach person. At our harvest table dinner, we feed over 100 individuals every Tuesday night. On the nights we have a free pantry, which is every second and fourth Tuesday of the month, we distribute groceries to 120 families and clients. Besides all this we offer a free breakfast to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m .to 9 a.m., and at least 30 to 40 people participate. The breakfast is solely funded by donations as we are running on a shoestring budget.

Since I started working here over four years ago, I have seen an increase of about 45 percent in the people who are looking for help. More than half have low-paying jobs and are barely making it. What we need in Pittsfield is industry jobs or some type of stable jobs that offer a survival rate of hourly pay.

It is a shame that after a pantry night, the pantry is almost bare. It's a good thing that nothing gets wasted, but this shows us that there are a lot of people who need extra help.

Joseph J. Kirvin, Pittsfield