"The most difficult thing is trying to convince people there is a hunger problem right here," Helen Grimmenga, supervisor for Community Action Commission's food unit, says in contributor Kate Loftus' article on local food pantries. "Hunger is a very silent problem." But the numbers scream: According to the CAC, Dane County's 38 food pantries have seen a 250% spike in requests for emergency food over the last two-and-a-half years. Madison Urban Ministry director Charles Pfeiffer notes that some churches and groups are adopting pantries and mounting food drives. "If we work together," he says, "I think there are other resources in the community that we can mobilize." The Community Action Coalition's Food Security Program now distributes almost three million pounds of free food each year to agencies in south central Wisconsin, including 48 Dane County food pantries.