Helping Hands of Midland Sees an Increase of People in Need

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The last time unemployment rate was this high, was during the oil bust in the 1980's.

Now with layoffs and unemployment effecting many families in the Permian Basin today, Helping Hands of Midland is overwhelmed with people reaching out in need.

"It's frustrating because we try to be an organization that doesnt say no, but when you run out of money, you run out of money," Mary Harden of Helping Hands of Midland, said.

Just recently the amount of calls they got from people asking for help reached its high.

"Yesterday we received 124 on our hotline. It used to be a rare occasion where our system is full. We've never seen anything like this before," Harden said.

Helping Hands of Midland spends $18,000 a week to reach out to people in need, with things like rent, utility bills, and food.

Monsignor James Bridges says he's never seen such a demand for help in the Midland community.

"Of course with the downturn in the economy the needs from the poor have multiplied," Msgr. Bridges said.

Monsignor Bridges says even if the funds are running low, it's his faith in God that keeps Helping Hands of Midland standing strong.

"We try to say yes to everything. Behind every human in need is the Lord. What you do for those in need, you do for the lord," Msgr. Bridges said.

No one is sure when the economy will recover, but workforce officials say for a local turn around to happen, the oil industry needs to pick up to lessen the number of people in need.