The 'Baloney Sandwich Index' hit an all-time high this month, after the St. John's Sack Lunch Program served a record number of sack lunches.
The index was created by Ken Kupchick with the River Valley Food Bank in order to chart the correlation between the number of sack lunches were given out to the hungry every month and the unemployment rate in the area.
Volunteers with the St. John's Episcopal Church Sack Lunch Program say they've seen a significant increase in the number of people coming to the window for a sack lunch every day.
Ben Daly and his wife Ann have been volunteering with the program for years, and say it's heartbreaking to watch more people come to the window every month.
"It's hard," Ben Daly said. "I mean who would walk five or six blocks to eat a bologna sandwich? And some of them are pushing baby carts."
Ann Daly agreed with her husband.
"It breaks my heart," Ann Daly said. "You know - they're hungry. And we're not the only place feeding. There are places that do this all over."
Jean Kolljeski, the director of the sack lunch program, said it's getting harder to keep the community fed. Entire families are lining up every day to get something to eat.
"We've seen a tremendous increase in the number of kids who stand in that sack lunch line," said Kolljeski. "669 lunches were given in the last month just to kids. And there are other kids who are out there who need food."
With school back in session, the number of meals handed out to children may decline, according to Kupchick. That's because more children are eating breakfast and lunch at school instead of at home he explained.
Regardless, the number of adults coming to St. John's for a sack lunch has more than doubled since 2005. Kolljeski said that should be a wake up call for the community.
"They need our help," said Kolljeski. "They're hungry, and we're going to keep feeding them until we don't have anything left."
If you're interested in helping out with the program, you can contact St. John's Episcopal Church at (479) 782-9912. Kolljeski says anything you're willing to give will help - whether you can donate your time, money or food.