JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - It's perhaps the most difficult time of year for people who struggle to put food on the table.
Many local food pantries are reporting a spike in the number of families they serve.
Willard Rhodes and his family consider their once a month trip to the Jackson Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry, a Godsend.
"Lord blesses me with this because I'm on a fixed income," said Willard Rhodes of Delta.
Rhodes is not alone. "I really appreciate what they're doing for me," said Carla Linder of Oak Ridge.
Volunteers say they've seen a 15 percent increase in the people they serve over the past two years.
They average about 155 people a month from the Jackson R-2 School District area.
"The need gets greater and greater," said Sam Roethemeyer-President, Jackson Ministerial Alliance.
That is especially the case during the summer months.
"When June, July and August are here we are breakfast, lunch, and supper to people," said Roethemeyer.
That's because many children in the area find themselves without a stable source of food during the summer months. During the school year they depend on federal school breakfast and lunch programs.
The Pocahontas 4-H Club saw the need.
"We can go home and get a snack or whatever we want, and they don't have anything," said Kelli Brunke, president of the club.
The 4-H kids just kicked off a food drive that runs through the end of the month.
"To give, it's a very good feeling," said Brunke.
Their efforts will help re-stock the shelves as more and more families continue to come through the doors.
"The middle class who have lost jobs, the spouse who is not working and now the other spouse loses a job and we're having to meet that need," said Roethemeyer.
While they continue to help those who have to survive on fixed incomes, or are living in poverty.
"Without the food pantry I probably wouldn't eat at all," said Carla Lindner. "I would starve to death may be. Can only do so much with your money."
Volunteers say more and more people are having to decide whether to pay those overdue power bills, or buy groceries.
The Pocahontas 4-H Club will collect non-perishable food items and monetary donations for the Jackson Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry through Sunday, July 29th.
Drop off locations include the Jackson Police Department and Crossroads Fellowship Church in Jackson.
Tax-deductible monetary donations can be sent to:
Jackson Ministerial Alliance, 304 East Adams Street Jackson, MO 63755 c/o Emanuel Church of Christ