Tucson soup kitchen volunteers busier than ever

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Soup kitchen volunteers have even more mouths to feed these days because, they say, Tucson's homeless population continues to grow. It's a bleak reminder that, for some, the economy isn't improving fast enough.

Every Sunday Tucson's needy gather behind the -Z- Mansion on Church Avenue to fill their plates-- and grab some food on the go.

"And now he's one of our best dishwashers," Amy Heithaus is one of many work-ship volunteers. They come from all faiths and churches to serve up some relief to those who are down on their luck. Heithaus says the number of guests is growing.

in this heat and the climate usually about 40 people maybe this time of year would show up.  but we are really consistently at 150 and up to 200 right now.

Some guests say services at other charities and non-profits have dried up. They say they're so grateful for a regular meal-- some of them pitch in to keep operations up to speed.

"Whatever they need, cut food, put it on serving trays, put water on the table," says Janey.

"Really good food, good atmosphere, great people to associate with," says Crosby.

The large number of visitors isn't the only indication of increasing need. Heithaus says there's a sense of desperation.

"Two weeks ago the busses weren't running, people were arriving on foot. People were arriving on bicycles, some people could only fit one child on the bicycle so they were choosing which child to put on the bicycle to bring here," says Heithaus.

Heithaus says she's encouraging local churches to start hosting their own Sunday lunches-- to keep up with the demand.