Unemployment rate in Ariz. at its highest levels in almost 30 years

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PHOENIX - Unemployment in Arizona is at its highest levels in nearly three decades and the number of families living in poverty is staggering

The poverty rate in the United States is at its highest level in more than 50 years and if you have not been affected, chances are you know someone who has.

Maria Sanchez says she has been coming to St. Vincent de Paul with her family, for about a year now after she was let go from her job at a kitchen cabinet company.

She explains, “Just got laid off, after 14 years I was there, it's been hard for me right now.”

For Sanchez, recent numbers on unemployment and poverty are not just words on a page. She lives them every day. “I don't care if you pay me $7.25. Ii just want a job. I want a job.”

A few minutes away at St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, volunteers help load groceries by the cart sold at discount to those in need.

Last year, St. Mary's delivered 72 million pounds of food, which is almost double the amount from the year before.

New numbers released by the Census Bureau Thursday show a little more than 14 percent of Americans are living in poverty. That number is up from 13 percent the year before and in Arizona, it is even worse.

For a family of four with two kids under 18, the U.S. Census Bureau says poverty means making less than $22,000 a year.

The state's unemployment rate is also worse than the national average at 9.7 percent it is the highest it has been since 1983.

With so many folks hurting, the food banks and charities have been stretched to the limit.

You can help by making a donation to St. Vincent de Paul or St. Mary's Food Bank.