by Huffington Post | huffingtonpost.com
NEW YORK — Outside the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, a line starts forming at about 9 o’clock every Friday morning. Unattended shopping carts stretching 50 feet down the sidewalk stand as placeholders, cordoned off by dirty yellow twine held up between two stanchions.
Across from the carts in the shade of the church’s eave, senior citizens occupy fold-up chairs they have brought with them for the wait. Some read. One person plays a scratch card, while another woman in a purple sweatshirt and wool hat sits and sings hymns from the bible.
They are waiting for donated food, and there now are more people lining up than anyone can recall — a sure sign of troubled times.
The weekly food pantry at First Corinthian Baptist has been part of the church’s community service programs for well over a decade, but over the last two years, the lines have gotten longer, and the people coming for help have gotten younger, staff members say, due to the unemployment crisis.