SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Every year, the Salvation Army partners with Avera McKennan employees and Hy-Vee to help families put food on the table for Thanksgiving Day. This year, though, they’re noticing something different — a much higher demand of people in need of assistance.

“The first day we got hit with over 300 sign-ups. The second day was 228,” Eugene Ware with the Salvation Army said. “Now we’re at 800 people so, you know, we were kind of afraid that we weren’t going to be able to service everyone so we had to close our hotline down.”

Ware says last year, the Salvation Army gave meal baskets to 600 people.

“It has been an uptick because of the economy. You know, people just can’t afford food,” Ware said.

The need for food assistance isn’t just being felt with the Thanksgiving meals; it’s also being felt in the Salvation Army food pantry. Ware says some of the shelves are bare because they can see close to 100 people daily.

“Our food pantry and our feeding programs, we’re servicing over, you know, 4,800 people a month just from the feeding program. And from our food pantry we’re doing about 2,600 people through this building alone,” Ware said.

Ware says helping as many people get food as they can is what’s important.

“Especially when you see a child, I don’t want to get emotional here but, when you see a child coming up that’s hungry and you know you’re able to feed that child, give them something to sustain them for at least another day or another two days, that’s meaningful,” Ware said.

If you are looking for Thanksgiving meal assistance, the Helpline Center has a list of resources you can check out by clicking here.

The Salvation Army is currently looking for volunteers to help with their red kettles and angel trees this holiday season.