PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials with food banks across the region say they are struggling to keep their shelves stocked.
Some of them are facing higher demand and are not sure how they will be able to help people through the holiday season.
They largely blame the economy.
"We normally have food everywhere, and it's just the donations is way down, just not getting any food at all," said Thankful Hearts Food Pantry Assistant Director Trissia Scott.
Food pantries across Eastern Kentucky are feeling the pinch.
"We're having to turn people away every day for food," said Scott.
At Thankful Hearts Food Pantry in Pikeville they typically serve nearly 1,800 people per month, but now they are struggling to do so. The lack of donations has cut the amounts they give out by more than half.
"It worries you when there's children there standing in line and there's old people that doesn't have any food, and they stand in line for two hours at a time in the cold and this is all they've got to eat," said Scott.
They are also seeing more people in need than in previous years.
"Since these mines have shut down you know it seems like everything is just going down," said Thankful Hearts employee Madonna Wallen.
The people working at Thankful Hearts say even the donations from stores are down, and most of what they are receiving are drinks, not actual food.
"It seemed like last year it started getting a lot lower, and this year it's really bad," said Wallen.
A lot of this is because the USDA commodities that food banks usually gets have also been cut by half, and many have not seen any at all in the past few months
"I really don't know. We're just living on faith. God will send it if he wants us to have it," said Scott.
So for now they are hoping their prayers for help will be answered.
Thankful Hearts Food Pantry is also accepting donations of coats and toys for the holidays.
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