ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Bags and boxes of food normally fill the shelves at the food pantry at Rockingham County's Veterans Coalition.
But lately, volunteer Doris Kellam says more food has been going out than coming in.
“It's been empty for a while now,” she said.
Since the fall, Kellam says they've been serving an average of 31 people per day.
It’s a huge jump from the five or six people they used to serve daily.
“You hate to say, ‘I'm sorry we don't have it,’ but we give what we have,” Kellam said.
Ann Fish says it's the same story at other food pantries in the county.
“We are really struggling this year to feed people,” Fish said.
Fish is the co-chairman of a county-wide food drive every year.
This year, she’s working with eight food pantries in the county, some of which have been feeding twice as many people as normal.
“It's probably the worst I've seen it in the eight years I've been working on this,” Fish said.
She says it's been tough with recent closures like the MillerCoors plant in Eden shutting down in 2016, laying off more than 500 people.
“When a big corporation like that closes, it doesn't just affect the people working there,” Fish said. “It's just a domino effect in the community.”
With a higher demand, Fish is opening up the annual food drive to libraries, government offices, schools and other places.
It’s an outreach volunteers like Kellam hope will help them restock their shelves.
The eight food pantries collecting food as part of the food drive are the following:
- The American Red Cross Food Pantry
- The Cooperative Christian Ministries in Eden
- The Hands of God
- Rockingham County Veterans Coalition
- The Salvation Army in Eden
- The Salvation Army Food Pantry in Reidsville
- The Reidsville Soup Kitchen
- Men in Christ Ministries
Donations can be made at any one of the eight locations.
Donations can also be taken to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Reidsville or to the Rockingham County Governmental Center in Wentworth.
The food drive will be going on through April 29.