ECONOMY

Even with economy growing, food banks struggle to meet greater demand

  • In this July 29, 2015 photo, volunteer Peggy Bragg, of Des Moines, Iowa, unloads donated baked goods at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    In this July 29, 2015 photo, volunteer Peggy Bragg, of Des Moines, Iowa, unloads donated baked goods at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 29, 2015 photo, Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry warehouse manger Daniel Beck unloads donated baked goods in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    In this July 29, 2015 photo, Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry warehouse manger Daniel Beck unloads donated baked goods in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this July 29, 2015 photo, a load of sweet corn sits ready to be given away at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

    In this July 29, 2015 photo, a load of sweet corn sits ready to be given away at the Des Moines Area Religious Council food pantry in Des Moines, Iowa. Food banks across the country are seeing surging demand for free groceries despite a growing economy and steadily declining unemployment rate, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)  (The Associated Press)

Food banks nationwide are dealing with rising demand despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount they offer each family.

U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds of food this year. Feeding America, the nation's primary food bank network, says that's more than double the amount provided a decade ago.

The group gave away 3.8 billion in 2013.

Food bank reliance exploded when the economy tanked in 2008, but groups say demand still rises each year.

Some economists say the increased demand is surprising because the economy is growing and unemployment has been cut nearly in half since the recession.

But many people who have found jobs are working only part-time or for low wages, and others have stopped looking for work.