Rising food and fuel prices are making it more difficult for Ohio food banks to purchase enough food, just as pantries and soup kitchens across the state and throughout the Mahoning Valley are seeing an uptick in visitors because of the slowing economy.

In Trumbull County, the percentage of people seeking federal food and nutrition assistance rose 12.66 percent from May 2007 to May 2008, according to the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. Mahoning County saw a jump of 4.63 percent for the same period.

Officials at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank placed an online order with the U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities program late last month for almost $400,000.

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