By Janet Shamlian, NBC News correspondent
Editor's note: After Janet Shamlian's report aired on the broadcast, we received many of your emails asking how you can help the Sanchez family. This is a link to the Jeffco Action Center, which says it will direct all donations to the Sanchez's.
It's a new and uncomfortable position. Michiko and David Sanchez never thought they'd need help. They both have full time jobs, and their combined income of $60,000 was enough to allow them to donate 10 percent to their church. That was last year. This year, the Sanchez' are the recipients of the kind of goodwill they used to selflessly offer others. After their mortgage jumped, they lost their house to foreclosure. Now, as they save for a deposit on an apartment, they're getting their groceries from a food pantry. When I visited them in Denver a few days ago, they had $60 to make it to payday Friday. With three children in the home, they've already told the kids.. there won't be any Christmas gifts under the tree.
Their story comes as no surprise to food banks across the country, struggling with an unprecedented need from families trying to make ends meet. The weakened economy and the credit crunch has transformed tens of thousands of middle class Americans from donors to reluctant recipients. At the Jeffco Action Center in Denver, donations are down 50 percent from last year and the non-profit will have to buy food for the first time in its 39 year history. 75 percent of the needy there hold a full time job.
Michiko Sanchez has no room for pity and chooses to look at their struggle as a way to teach her kids about the season's true meaning. "There won't be any presents," she told me, "but we'll spend the day together, celebrating the wealth of our love."
Click here for one of the organizations featured in this report.