Knoxville, TENN (WVLT) -- The economy's forced more families to stand in line, looking for a helping hand this holiday season. Knox Area Rescue Ministries began handing out 1,300 Thanksgiving baskets Sunday afternoon.
KARM estimates that's more than 100 more than last year The ministry also says it handled a record number of requests for help.
It's help Lois Davis hasn't needed in more than 20 years.
"I just do what I have to to take care of my family," Davis said picking up her turkey.
Now that means standing in line with more than 1,000 families outside Knox Area Rescue Ministries.
"This is our Thanksgiving basket giveaway," KARM President Burt Rosen said.
The event's annual, but the number of those waiting to get a box, and a turkey is not.
"What you've got is a lot of upper-lower, and lower-middle class families who are just struggling to put food on the table, to pay their rent, and utility bills," Rosen said.
So many, Rosen says the ministry had 50% more requests than ever this year.
"And unfortunately that means we've had to say no a few more times than we would like, but the good news are the other organizations doing things as well," Rosen said.
Volunteers started passing out 1,300 boxes Sunday.Inside, families find find all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast for six. Throw in the turkey, and KARM says it's all worth about $45.
"It's wonderful, it's been awhile. It does bring back memories of what it was like when my children were little," Davis said.
Davis relied on charity like this as a young, single mom. But now that her kids are grown and living with her, she's toting a free turkey again.
"Higher prices, jobs are hard to get right now. I couldn't find a job from the time I quit working in August till now," Davis said.
Davis also doesn't have a job; so, she says this food has to last.
"Cook and freeze it, and re-use it for Christmas time," Davis said.
All the families who received baskets had to apply and meet certain income, employment, and family size qualifications.
If you're looking for help this Thanksgiving, KARM it can help point in the right direction. Just give them a call at (865) 673-6540. KARM will hold it's annual "Tent of Hope" for Thanksgiving thursdsay. Anyone can stop by for free meal from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
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