A look at the new faces of American poverty

The Strubles used to have a combined annual income of $85,000 but now have only an estimated $25 in their savings account, and perhaps another $100 in their checking.

A growing number of middle class Americans are falling into poverty.

CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reports that it's hard to imagine everything you've worked so hard for slowly slipping away, unless you've lived it.

If you hit rock bottom, where would you go? Who would you write?

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Diane Struble of Greensboro, N.C., wrote to her local newspaper: "I'm not the homeless man down on the corner, begging for change. I'm anybody, living anywhere U.S.A."

Two years ago Diane and Todd Struble were living the dream. They're college educated, with careers, and members of America's vast middle class. They had a combined annual income of $85,000. But in November of 2009, Todd lost his job, and hasn't had a steady paycheck since.

They now have only an estimated $25 in their savings account, perhaps another $100 in their checking, and they don't like talking about their 401k plans.

"Hers is gone. And I had to take out what I could out of my pension," said Todd Struble.

Diane is now the primary bread winner, earning $22,000 per year. They've gone from middle class to below the poverty line. A local school teacher, she's getting a daily education in humility. She talked about it in that letter she emailed to the local newspaper.

'I'm grateful for the leftover cereal, cereal that I sneak out of work in an oversized purse. And I'm grateful for my superiors who see, but pretend they don't see," Diane wrote.

She said it was not easy writing that kind of letter, adding: "When you've been in this situation for a long time, you feel beaten down."

She's not alone. In Guilford County, where the Struble's stay, 21 percent of families their size live below the poverty line.

The Strubles say that if they were to lay all their money out on the table right now, it would be "less than what some people pay for a dinner out."

The Strubles have eight children, and four still live at home. Space is tight, and the reminders of their old life - water-logged canoe, skis, etc. - are stored outside.

Their walk-in closet is now 6-year old Sadie's bedroom, a fact they try to disguise. But it takes more than stuffed animals and pink sheets to fool teenagers. They know the hard truth.

"I remember one time, there was soup for two weeks. It was just every day for two weeks, everyday, just soup. That was kind of tough," said 14-year-old Ben.

Todd Struble said they represent the growing edge of poverty.

"I think there is a greater and greater divide between the haves and the have nots," Todd said.

Tonight, in many homes across America, that divide is growing.

Two ways to help families like the Strubles:

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
Feeding America: A nationwide network of member food banks